Express Faith in God’s Ability

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” – Isaiah 40:28.

If someone were to ask you, “Do you serve a big God?”, your answer would most likely be “Yes.” How many of us would even think of or even consider saying that we don’t?  To answer any other way would be absurd. “You shall not be in dread of them, for the Lord your God is in your midst, a great and awesome God.” (Deuteronomy 7:21).

Nothing about God is small. As Christians, we should be thinking big, dreaming big and praying big. When we do anything less, we are placing God in a confined box limiting His ability. And there is no limit to His ability. Paul thought so too: “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.” (Ephesians 3:20-21)

As we embark on a new year, let us be reminded that we serve a big God and that we need to step out in faith. Like the Apostle Paul, we too can discover that God’s power is at work within us, and He is able to accomplish far more than all we can ask or ever imagine.

As a church, we are praying for our vision of helping the whole world find and follow Jesus. We are pursuing that vision through our five campuses as well as future campuses we are considering. We have faith that God will work in ways we could never imagine as we seek to reach our communities with the saving message of Jesus Christ. We do serve a big God with limitless abilities and we are asking for big things as we position ourselves for God to do the impossible.

We are one week into our 21 Days of Prayer. We ask that today, you pray that more people experience the freedom and life only God can offer, and for them to plug into the life of the church. Over the next six days, please: 

  1. Pray that in 2016, Northstar will have extraordinary opportunities to magnify the glory of God in Jesus Christ.
  2. Pray for our campuses.
  3. Pray for future campuses.

We are on this journey together, and in the next three weeks we will seek God to re-focus our vision and steps for ending 2016 stronger. We believe the best is yet to come.

Discussion Questions: 

  1. In what area of life are you underestimating God’s ability?
  2. Are you dreaming big enough? Why or why not?
  3. What role do you play in the success of Northstar campuses?
  4. Pray and ask God to help you to increase your faith in God’s ability. 

Get Your Heart Right With God and People

“But faith’s way of getting right with God says, “Don’t say in your heart, ‘Who will go up to heaven?’ (to bring Christ down to earth). And don’t say, ‘Who will go down to the place of the dead?’ (to bring Christ back to life again).” In fact, it says,“The message is very close at hand; it is on your lips and in your heart.” And that message is the very message about faith that we preach: If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” – Romans 10:6-10

Sometimes smart people do dumb things, wise people do foolish things, and Godly people do sinful things. For some of us those things are locked in our past, while for others it is a part of our present. There is one thing we all have in common – the ability and the tendency to make mistakes, to mess up, and to do things that make us shake our heads soon after. Not that we should be surprised. The Bible says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) The question is when we do something wrong, how do we make it right? How do we get our heart right with God?

1 Samuel 16:7 says, “…For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” God can see things about you that no one else can see. Deep things. Hidden things. You know, those inner thoughts and desires that your family and friends have no idea are even floating around in your heart and mind.

Being separated from God is a terrible thing. We were created to enjoy a close connection with Him. With Jesus, fractured relationships get mended. Getting right with God can and should lead to staying right with God. Being right with God means we are constantly working to grow and mature in Christ.

Getting and staying right with God means we must walk in the Spirit, keeping your mind on God and His kingdom by praying continually. During the 21 Days of Prayer consider praying Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” God will be faithful to answer this prayer and to keep your heart stayed on Him.

There is also the need to get your heart right with others. We feel bad, in most cases, when things aren’t right between us and someone we care about. It gnaws at us, eats away inside us. We know it needs to be resolved but we often don’t know where to begin, or we don’t want to be the one who takes the first step. We need to take that step. We need to forgive, reconcile and love that person. It is not easy, but is something we must do to truly live as God desires.

Loving others is the only way to keep the God-kind of life flowing through you. God’s love is a gift to us; it’s in us, but we need to release it to others through words and actions. Here’s a 6-day challenge: Think of a person that you want to get right with. Then think of ways you can find to make it right. I believe you will feel a wonderful sense of fulfillment and joy afterward.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What does getting right with God look like for you?
  2. To have a heart after God’s heart, we must spend time alone in prayer with God. Agree or disagree?
  3. We should each ask ourselves how seriously we take Jesus’ love. What difference does it make in our lives?
  4. What does love require of us for the next six days?
  5. Get your heart right with God and people today. Ask the Lord to forgive you for any sin in your life and to bring up any unforgiveness you hold onto.

Pray God’s Agenda First

“But this command I gave them: ‘Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and you shall be my people. And walk in all the way that I command you, that it may be well with you.” – Jeremiah 7:23.

Ask yourself this question: Does prayer set the agenda for your life? And who’s agenda is it?

The Bible tells us that while rebuking Peter, Jesus said, “You do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.” (Matthew 16:23). In other words, Jesus was telling Peter that he was not pursing God’s agenda in that particular situation. Peter was not thinking God’s thoughts but man’s. He did not seem to grasp the necessity of Jesus’ death. Peter thought that he was doing the right thing, but he wasn’t. In fact, had Jesus permitted what Peter suggested to occur, there would not have been a death, burial and resurrection. On the cross is where we are redeemed, and it is where our sin debt to God is canceled. There are times when we feel a particular course of action is the right thing to do. However, if God has a different agenda, we should always follow His lead and His agenda. 

Look at the life of Jesus when it comes to prayer and obedience to His Father. It was prayer that set the agenda for Jesus’ ministry “In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God.” (Luke 6:12). Prayer preceded a miracle: “I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” (John 11:42-43) Prayer brought Him encouragement at critical moments. “ About eight days after Jesus said this, he took Peter, John and James with him and went up onto a mountain to pray. As he was praying, the appearance of his face changed, and his clothes became as bright as a flash of lightning. Two men, Moses and Elijah, appeared in glorious splendor, talking with Jesus. They spoke about his departure, which he was about to bring to fulfillment at Jerusalem.” (Luke 9:28-31); 

Jesus held himself to the same standards when it came to pursing God the Father’s agenda. The Bible tells us that when he was faced with a situation that he did not want to experience, that he looked to God his Father and said, “… take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done” (Luke 22:42). In other words, Jesus was saying, “because you know what is best for me, and, will do what is best for me, I ask that you do your will.” 

We all have issues that we would like to go away, people we don’t want to deal with, things we don’t want to go through, as well as our own plans for dealing with them. Let me encourage you, in spite of these and any other concerns that you first pursue God’s agenda. God knows what is best for each of us, and, will do what is best for us. 

In our 21 days of Prayer, our hope is that we will learn to pray about everything and trust God with everything in our life. At times we may sense His direction and feel the peace that comes from the Holy Spirit even though we would choose a different path. Praying through every decision, listening to His voice, and leaning upon His wisdom will enable you to determine and then follow God’s agenda. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Evaluate yourself. What part of your agenda is driven by God and what percentage is driven by you?
  2. Have you considered God’s work in you to be a complete rebuilding or just “tweaking?”  What effect can this difference of perspective have in your life?
  3. What is the difference between seeking the “plans” God may have for us and simply seeking Him?
  4. What could be practically done to ensure that you seek God’s agenda in the next three weeks?

Small Wonders

“Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day’s walk from the city. When they arrived, they went upstairs to the room where they were staying. Those present were Peter, John, James and Andrew; Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew; James son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas son of James. They all joined together constantly in prayer, along with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brothers. Acts 1:12-14.

Charles Spurgeon saw thousands of people come to faith in Christ under his preaching. On one occasion, another pastor asked him a question: “Mr. Spurgeon, what is the secret of your influence?”  After a moment’s pause, Spurgeon said, “My people pray for me.”

Northstar is a church that believes in the power of prayer and the power of small groups. Small groups are a place where you will pray for others and receive prayer from others. We can never lose sight of the impact an effective small group can make in the lives of believers. 

Our prayer is that our small groups reflect the “upper room” in Acts 1:12–14 to which the disciples went to after the ascension of Jesus.  There, “they all joined together constantly in prayer.”  Like the disciples, when you are part of a small group you can join together in an “upper room” – which may be a family room, a living room, on a patio sitting by a lake or wherever the small group meets – for prayer, for reading and meditation on His word and for fellowship in the Holy Spirit. 

Going to church every week is a very good thing. And we can pray and worship God at any moment, but in a small group we can see and experience the work of the Holy Spirit. Small groups are where doubts can disappear and questions about faith can be addressed in a non-threatening, nurturing, relaxed and comfortable setting.    

Small groups provide a much needed place for Christian fellowship among friends, a place to learn and question in a comfortable environment, and a support group when facing the inevitable challenges in life. As parents, it gives us the opportunity to share the successes and trials of raising children in today’s world. As spouses, we continue to learn what Scripture reveals to us on marriage.

Small groups are where we can continue to grow in Jesus. We can learn the power of prayer and what it means to be able to come to God with all things in prayer.  We can learn together through studying God’s word how it applies to our everyday life and how God speaks to us through His word. And small groups are where we care for each other by doing our best to be the hands and feet of Christ for each other when needed.    

Please pray for our small groups as we begin a new semester. Pray that God will use them to be a real blessing in the lives of every person who attends.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Is there anything from this Sunday’s Detox sermon on the soul that your small group could help you with? What areas that we need to starve/feed could be helped through prayer?
  2. What should we do when we don’t feel like praying? How can a small group help in this area?
  3. Here is a 6-day experiment for you: Spend a few minutes praying for each member of your small group.   
  4. Pray and ask God to bless our small groups this semester.

Lost and Found

“What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open country, and go after the one that is lost, until he finds it?” – Luke 15:4.

If you have attended Northstar for any length of time, you know our vision is to help the whole world find and follow Jesus. This vision is predicated on some fundamental truths: God loves people desperately. People are lost without Him so they need Jesus. We need to have more of God’s heart for the lost.

The Apostle Paul famously said that his “heart’s desire” and his “prayer to God” is that his fellow Jews “may be saved” (Romans 10:1). The problem was that these “kinsmen according to the flesh” were lost—bound for an eternity without God—which filled Paul’s heart with “great sorrow and unceasing anguish” (Romans 9:2-3). We want that passion, that heart for the lost that Paul had.

As we begin our 21 Days of Prayer, I encourage you to pray for a passion for those far from the heart of God. First, remember the plight of those who have not chosen to follow Jesus. And keep in mind the terrible reality of entering eternity without Christ. Paul said in 1 Timothy 1:15-16: “Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.”

Take a moment and reflect on the joy you would have over one sinner who repents and turns to Christ through your prayer, life, and witness. 1 Thessalonians 2:19 says, “For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?”  And John said in 3rd John 4:, “I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth.” Let your imagination grasp the joy of being used by God to bring a person from death to eternal life.

Pray for God to increase your love for the lost. Listen to the apostle’s prayer for us in 1 Thessalonians 3:12, “May the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all men.” Such love is not natural to us. It is a gift of grace. 

Pray that we have the courage to act on the passion and love we have for the lost.  1 John 3:18-19 says, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. This is how we know that we belong to the truth and how we set our hearts at rest in his presence:” In other words, if we don’t just talk about caring for others but we take the steps to win our neighbors and friends, even strangers for Jesus Christ. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Do you have believe that anyone is beyond God’s reach and love? Why or why not? How does your answer impact your view of those far from the heart of God?
  2. Why do you think the Lord Jesus put such a strong emphasis on proclaiming the Gospel?
  3. What role does the church play in communicating the words and works of the Gospel? Consider the role that you play in communicating the words and works of the Gospel.
  4. Think about the significance of us being the salt and light of the world? What did Jesus mean by this in Matthew 5:13-15?

Feed Your Spirit Prayer

Then they cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed. They were glad when it grew calm, and he guided them to their desired haven.” – Psalm 107:28-30

Prayer is that discipline that I feel like is so important, yet strides often seem so elusive.  That thought or question often pops up when the subject of prayer is brought up: Does prayer change anything? “What if [my prayer] doesn’t do anything?” It may or to may not, but we need to remember that God ordains the end and the means. One of those means is prayer.

The reality is that we may have a very limited view of the purpose of prayer if we wonder if communicating with our Heavenly Father changes anything. Some people see prayer as nothing more than a grown-up version of a Christmas list. We go to God with a list of our needs and our wants, but we don’t consider why God asks us to pray. Prayer is not about changing the circumstances, it’s about changing us. If we prayed for a reconciliation with a child who has severed all ties with you, that relationship can be healed if God has ordained it to be so. If the relationship stays frayed, does that mean our prayers were in effective? Absolutely not. 

Prayer isn’t complicated. In fact, God makes prayer an incredibly simple, yet powerful gift for those who have chosen to follow Him. We can pray at anytime, anywhere. Remember Jonah? Jonah prayed while in the belly of a great fish  Prayer helps change the way we think. When we focus on God, our hearts can’t help but align itself with what pleases Him. “And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” (Philippians 4:7-8)

We can pray about anything. That means anything from needing strength to forgive or help getting through traffic without turning into a madman or madwoman. If it matters to you…it matters to God. We can never ask more of God than what He can provide. “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)

Our hope is that our 21 days of prayer will rejuvenate and refresh your prayer life for the remainder of 2016.

Discussion Questions:

  1. Since God knows all about you and what he is going to do before you ask, what do you think might be some reasons God still wants you to pray to Him?
  2. What are some reasons why Jesus had to pray? What do those reasons tell you about why you need to pray?
  3. How is it possible to have confidence and be satisfied that God will answer your prayers?
  4. What are some needs you are lifting up to God in prayer right now? How might your prayers change for each of these needs if you also prayerfully sought God’s direction for being the solution?

Feed Your Spirit God’s Word

“But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” – 2 Timothy 3:14-17

Charles Spurgeon said, “Be masters of your Bibles, brethren… be at home with the writings of the prophets and apostles. Let the Word of God dwell in you richly.”

The goal of Bible study is not to be unique, clever, or holier-than-thou. Rather, we study God’s word to decipher, understand, and apply the truth of Scripture to our every day lives.  Our goal is to understand the original meaning of the text as intended by the original author to the original recipients. As we study the Bible in its entirety, we are better qualified to teach and apply its parts, and gain a greater sense of awe for our creator. And it is food for our spirit.

When we study God’s word, we don’t just receive a message about God, but also a message from God. It is a message that is from God that has divine authority and thus has the ability to transform our lives. If we are trying to teach, correct, train, or encourage one another toward maturity in Christ, the Bible is our book. That transformation only happens when we apply the Word of God in our lives.

God’s Word confirms that Christians should be doers over and over again. James encourages the believers to “be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.” (James 1:22)  Jesus finishes his sermon on the mount by saying, “everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.” (Matthew 7:24).  Undoubtedly they are considered wise, because God’s Word is truly “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:16-17).

The Bible is no ordinary book. The words within its pages are food for your spirit. It has the power to change your life because there is life in the Word. “ For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12.)

When you discover the power and truth of God’s Word, you will begin to see changes in your life that only this truth can bring.

Make the time in your life to study the Bible because there is power in it to change your life and become the person God wants you to be. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is the best way to study the Bible?
  2. Read Psalm 119:9-11. How do you think David got to the point where he could say that God’s Word was hidden in his heart?
  3. Why do you think it’s important that we pray before we read the Bible?
  4. What can we do this week to improve our study of the Bible? 

Connect With God Relationally

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.” – James 4: 6-10.

Let me ask you a question: Would you walk up to someone you don’t know, somebody you have no relationship with, and ask them for a favor? You meet someone at the checkout line in Publix and inform them these are the things that you would like them to do for you. You tell them they can start by paying for your groceries. Before they can answer you tell them, “We can get to know each other at another time…you understand how it is, right?” 

If you had the chutzpah to do that, you would get some pretty interesting responses. You may even get some pointed remarks about your ancestors. And why not. Requests without relationships won’t get far. If that’s true when we speak with other people, is it true with God as well? How many of us talk or pray to God only when we want something? How often do we give God His to-do list without seeking a relationship? Prayer is relationship, not just requests. If God is a complete stranger to us and the only time we talk to Him is when we want something from Him, then we don’t have the level of relationship God desires to have with us.

A relationship with God is impossible without prayer. That’s because prayer is communication, and where there’s no communication, there’s no relationship. Prayer is pouring out our thoughts to God and paying attention to what God is thinking. It’s experiencing God’s love and expressing our love for Him.

Prayer is having a real conversation in which we not only talk to Him, but also listen to Him and get to know Him and become closer and closer to Him. As prayer lifts our hearts to God, it also fills God’s heart with pleasure. The Bible says, “…the prayer of the upright pleases him.“ (Proverbs 15:8). God loves us to come to Him in prayer. God enjoys conversations with His children. God savors the praises of His people. 

Belonging to Jesus Christ isn’t just a set of beliefs or behaviors – it’s a relationship. That relationship certainly involves believing certain truths and behaving in certain ways, but at the heart of the relationship is a personal connection with God.

Do you long to know God better, yet find all sorts of things getting in the way? Do you find prayer a struggle? Well, don’t give up. Don’t stop listening and talking to God just because it’s not always easy. Ask for the Holy Spirit’s help to pray and stay connected with Christ. Use the 21-day prayer challenge to connect and improve your relationship with God through prayer.

Discussion Questions:

  1. If desire for God is a thermometer in your relationship with Him, on a scale of 1 to 10 (highest) where would you rate your desire right now, and why? What role does prayer play in your answer? In your relationship with God? 
  2. Psalms 37:3-5: What do these verses say about relationship with God?
  3. How can we can build our relationship a little better with Jesus Christ over the next week?

Living On A Prayer

“Seek the LORD and his strength, seek his face continually.” 1 Chronicles 16:11

Alfred Lord Tennyson said “more things are wrought by prayer than this world dreams of.” And  D. L. Moody said, “Every great movement of God can be traced to a kneeling figure.”

We are embarking on 21 Days of Fasting and Prayer on January 10 because we too believe that more things are accomplished through prayer than people realize and that God is ready to work through those who seek Him through prayer. Prayer is our most powerful weapon. Jeremiah 33: 3 says, “Call to me and I will answer you, and will tell you great and hidden things that you have not known.”

Prayer starts with a strategy. What is a good strategy for prayer? When you go to your war room/private room, what do you pray about? “The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers.” (1 Peter 4:7). To become clear minded you have to set aside uninterrupted time to seek God. You cannot pray strategically if you’re running from one emergency to another. Or if your schedule is so tight that your mind is cluttered with an extensive to-do list, strategic praying becomes difficult. As you bring greater balance to your life and schedule, you will automatically reap the benefits in your prayer life. Your prayers will become more effective and more strategic. That is why we are posting daily devotionals to give you ideas on what to pray about. I encourage you to read 1 Timothy 2:1-8.   In this passage, the apostle Paul addresses the priority of the local church by addressing  a strategy of prayer for the church cooperatively and the Christ-follower individually.

Prayer must be a priority. Matthew 21:13 says, “… ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer’…” 1 Timothy 2:1 says, “First of all, then, I urge that.” As Paul begins to tell Timothy how to conduct oneself in the local church (3:15), he puts prayer as the first priority. Once you have developed a strategic prayer plan, the hard part begins—sticking to it. We need to pray and study the Bible every single day. We need to make a commitment to God to put Him first in our lives each and every day. 

For me, it helps to think of my prayer time as an actual appointment with God. This includes having a specific time and place to meet Him. And yes, sometimes I am tempted to forego my private time because I have a million things to do. But I never do. And today, I actually look forward to my prayer time each day before tackling  the to-do’s for the day. 

Your prayer time could be at any point during the day when you have uninterrupted time. I have heard of all kinds of times and ways to pray. What is important is that you are consistently spending time in respectful communication with God.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is your motivation for praying? How has your motivation changed over the years?
  2. “Prayer is more for our holiness than for our happiness.” Do you agree or disagree?
  3. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will hear you. You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”(Jeremiah 29:12-13) What does it mean to seek the Lord with “all your heart?”

As The Spirit Moves You

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.” – Romans 8:26-27.

Just like you need physical food for physical strength, your spirit must be fed the things it needs and removal of the things that limit or hurt the spirit.  If somebody asked you whether your spirit is is being fed, what would your answer be?  But here’s the thing: just as the body needs food so does our spirit. We rarely think about the diet our spirit is getting. Taking a close look at what you have been feeding your spirit will likely reveal why you are not living the life God intended you to live.

Are we sensitive to the influence and suggestion of the Spirit of God? Do we ever think, yes, I should do this or that—and ignore that? Do we display an unwillingness to yield to the Spirit as it leads us? So what determines whether God is able to perform His work in us? For all practical purposes it boils down to how well we are being led by the spirit. Your effectiveness as a Christian is determined by how well you are led by the Spirit. And how effectively we are led by the spirit is determined by what we feed and starve it.

In many ways, this is where the rubber meets the road in our daily Christian lives. Certainly God leads us by educating us through His Word and through His ministry. But for God to be able to guide and direct our lives as a Father, He also must be able to lead us directly through His Spirit. Although I covered several things we need to feed the spirit for this devotional, I would like to concentrate on God’s word.

God tells us in His word what will fill the craving in your soul like nothing else can. Listen to what it says in 1 Peter 2:2: “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation…”: That deep craving is for God’s Word. 

Take one week and pay close attention to God’s Word. Read it, think about it, write out a verse or two that stands out to you. Make an appointment to spend time with God just as you would make any other appointment. Pray, read and listen. Let God’s Word penetrate your heart. It will feed your spirit and fill you in ways you have forgotten. 

Note this profound statement Paul made to God’s people in Rome: “ For all who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.” (Romans 8:14). We are only sons of God when we are led by God through His Spirit.

As powerful as the Holy Spirit is, it never forces, impels, commands or controls us. It leads us. It influences our thinking—it suggests. We must be willing to yield to that influence, to follow, to obey those suggestions. And it begins with how well we remove the toxins in our spirit.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What am I feeding my spirit? What do I need to starve?
  2. Is my entertainment feeding me things that actually rob my spirit?
  3. Do I spend enough time in the Word each week?
  4. What steps can I take this week to remove any toxins in my spirit?