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Saturday 1/13/2018 - Pastor Preston
After a week of fasting and focusing in on prayer more than we normally do, it is easy to feel accomplished and satisfied. Rightly so, as this week has been a refreshment to my spirit and countenance and hopefully to yours too! But what happens when we let a good week be just that, a good week? Have you ever started to form a habit, felt good about it, even patted yourself on the back about it, only to feel defeated and back to square one a week later?
I remember being tired of my dentist telling me to floss my teeth. Ugh! So I made it a goal in high school to floss everyday, I was going to show my dentist I could do it. After a week of flossing, I felt accomplished. Then I forgot one day, ran out of floss the next, and finally stopped doing it altogether. I failed to be a flosser.
1 Thessalonians 5:17 says, “Never stop praying.”
When we stop praying, we stop communicating with God. It doesn’t mean He can’t still speak to us, but it means we stop seeking Him, listening to Him, humbling ourselves before Him. When this happens we stop seeing the blessings and promises that a close and intimate relationship affords. Then, because we are short-sighted humans, we begin complaining about this void between God and us or the lack of joy and direction we see in our lives. But let’s not be people who give up, seek only the immediate, and disregard the intimate. Instead, let this week-of-prayer be a catalyst to a life-of-prayer. Keep up the good work!
I don’t have to continue to be a failed flosser, all it takes is re-starting today. Same with prayer. Don’t stop! And if it’s been a struggle this week then you know progress is being made so keep going. Don’t stop praying, keep seeking His face and turning from your wicked ways. Communicating with God regularly is even better for your health than flossing!
Friday 1/12/2018 - Pastor Aaron
Continuing with our main text, 2 Chronicles 7:14, We finally arrive at the ultimate culmination of the promise - "I will restore your land." This is God speaking to King Solomon during the dedication of the temple, which had finally been completed after generations of Israel longing to see it happen! This was a big day for God's people. And a big promise to go along with it!
So far this week we've dealt with a lot of hard topics: humbling ourselves, seeking his face (when we may be out of the habit), repenting of our wicked sinfulness, etc. When we get to the part of being forgiven the weight of the world is finally lifted off our shoulders, and as glorious as it is, if we're not careful we'll settle for stopping right there.
But there's one more ultimate layer of promise here. He want's to restore our land! Our families, our cities, our nation. The implications and applications of this promise are vast! And when it comes to bringing restoration to the people of our land, one of the big ways He want's to do so is through US!!
Consider this amazing verse:
2 Corinthians 5:20 - We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God was making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God.
The forgiveness we celebrated like floods upon the dry ground yesterday, we're now realizing is not only for us to receive but also very much for us to give away!
Thursday 1/11/2018 - Pastor August
This week we have been focusing on 2nd Chronicles 7:14. We have been dissecting it day by day and praying the truths that are found in this particular verse. Today our subject matter is, “Hear from Heaven.” The verse says that if we call on God, humble ourselves, pray to him and seek his face, and then turn from our wicked ways and lifestyle he will hear us from heaven.
Today our challenge is praying confident prayers. Too often praying feels like playing T-ball blindfolded, am I going to hit the ball or not, translates to, is God going to hear me or not, therefore our prayers become, “well maybe, it would be cool if you helped out, but if not, no worries, I understand you’re super busy,” and we don’t expect God to hear us let alone respond. But this is a promise from God. If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I WILL HEAR FROM HEAVEN…” He doesn’t say I might hear you, I might not. He doesn’t say sorry that speech wasn’t fancy enough therefore I closed my ears, he said if you humble yourselves and seek him, forsaking the wickedness in your lives I absolutely will hear you. That absolutely should give us confidence that when we come to God in humility and repentance He will hear us, and then even more than that, He will respond.
The bible says in 1 John 5:14, “And this is the confidence that we have toward him, that if we ask anything according to his will he hears us.”
The confidence that we have as believers is that our Lord is now seated at the right hand of the Father, and when we come to him according to his will, humbled and repentant, he absolutely will hear us, intercede on our behalf, and respond. Our focus today is to pray for increased faith and confidence to know that no matter where we are at in this life, God hears our prayers, and responds to our needs.
Let us be the church that approaches the throne of God in confidence, knowing that He hears us when we pray, and He will respond to us.
Wednesday 1/10/2018 - Pastor Aimee
The scripture focus of this whole week of prayer comes from 2 Chronicles 7:14 “If
my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and
seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I
will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”
Over the last couple of days we have focused on putting ourselves in a position
of humility before God and seeking His face. So what is next for us? According to
this scripture God asks us to turn from our wicked ways. But what does this
mean? This idea of turning from our wicked ways is a consistent message from
God to His people throughout the Old Testament and New Testament. A word to
describe this action is repentance. This is the act of turning away from sin in our
lives and making a complete 180 degree change to follow God. Repentance is an
intentional releasing of sin and acceptance of more of God’s Spirit in your life.
Sounds simple, right? But you know in practice it is much difficult to do than say.
Why? The answer is it is so much easier to recognize other people’s sin than our
own. We can have such clarity about someone else’s shortcomings while having
such blindness to our own. But God calls us to examine our own hearts, minds,
and actions. He asks us to stand before Him and look to please an audience of
one, God alone.
Take a few moments and pray this psalm to God, asking that He would open
your eyes to the sin that separates you from Him.
Psalm 139: 23-24 “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my
anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the
When God reveals something to you, confess it by saying it out loud and ask
God to forgive you. Then accept His forgiveness. When God reveals a sin to us,
it is specific and it is for the purpose of reconciliation with Him. God does not
desire for you to beat yourself up or hold on to shame. So trust in his forgiveness
and his power to enable you to walk away from the sin that held you captive.
The end of 2 Chronicles 7:14 says that God will hear us, forgive us and
heal us. But we must make the first move, we must repent.
Tuesday 1/9/2018 - Pastor Beth
We’ve all heard the saying “I’ve done everything I can think of … I guess I have to pray now”. We tend to use prayer as a last resort, out of desperation, but God wants us to use it as our first line of defense. We pray when there’s nothing else we can do, but God wants us to pray before we do anything at all. Throughout history, great spiritual awakenings and transformations were preceded by sincere prayer. The beauty of prayer is that it aligns us with God’s will and purpose.
Prayer moves God’s hand in amazing, powerful ways to save, heal, and transform people and nations. Giving ourselves to seek stillness and prayer while seeking God’s face is central to bringing about Him into our lives. As we draw near to God, He will draw near to us (James 4:8). God wants to be sought out and after, but He is also eager to reveal Himself to those who love Him. As we cultivate and honor this relationship, seeking the face of God becomes easier and easier.
In Psalms 27:8, David says “My heart has heard you say “Come and talk with me”, and my heart responds “ I am coming!.” David was ready to seek God’s face and eager to converse with His creator.
When we look at a person’s face, we are looking at a lot more than just a face. The face of a person reveals a lot about that person and is like an open window that allows us to see inside of that person’s thoughts, pain, joy, and their heart. When we seek God’s face, He wants us to seek Him to enter into His heart, His thoughts, to see what He is doing, how he feels about something, to see the love that He has for us, and to look at the pain that our sin causes Him, etc.
As you continue to seek God’s face this week and into the future, contemplate:
- What steps can you make in your everyday life in order to consistently seek God’s face?
- What is holding you back from having an intimate prayer time with God?
My prayer for you is that you develop a prayerful habit of stillness in your daily life where the sound silence with God be loud and fruitful as you press into His presence. May God awaken you and transform your heart.
Monday 1/8/2018 - Pastor Corey
Romans 12:3 says: “For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.”
We all have pride. We all want to think that we know it all sometimes. When you struggle, who do you rely on to help you through it? When you celebrate, whom do you give the credit to? So often we tend to look to ourselves. We tend to rely on or own understanding to help get us out of struggles. We tend to praise ourselves when things are going our way. (I worked really hard for that; I’ve been doing it for so long I should be good at it, etc…)
That is our problem as human beings; we tend to rely solely on ourselves. We tend to become prideful and think that we have it all figured out, and when something does go wrong we try to fix it all by ourselves.
God wants us to look to Him for guidance; God wants us to thank Him for what we have. Instead of thinking of ourselves, instead of trying to do it all on our own, instead of being too full of pride, we need to humble ourselves before God. We need to acknowledge that we need God to be in control of our lives. We need God to help us through our struggles; we need to thank God for His grace.
When we do this God will help to keep our paths straight. (Proverbs 3:5-6) “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in all your ways summit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
So today I pray that you focus on asking God for a spirit of humility. Pray that God will help you grow to stop thinking of yourself, to stop praising yourself, to stop doing things your own way and to always trust in Him with all of your heart.
Sunday 1/7/2018 - Pastor Preston
We all have dreams. Some of us even have dreams of what God would dream for us. What do those dreams include? Are they for advancement, peace, prizes, wants, desires, help, all of the above?
But that’s the problem that you and I have when we dream about God’s dreams for us - stuff takes center stage. While I believe that God has great plans for us, plans to prosper and not to harm us even (Jeremiah 29:11), I also know that God’s real dream for any of us is simply intimacy with Him.
This week we are encouraging you, Jesus is calling you:
Into a deeper intimacy with Him.
Into a personal humility that drives you to your knees in prayer.
Into repentance to turn from your wicked ways and towards a loving God.
Into a posture of fasting* to listen and hear from heaven.
All of this so that you can experience God’s dream of intimacy through forgiveness and healing.
I pray that you don’t just join the North Ridge Church family in this week of prayer & fasting, but commit to Jesus to form habits of Christ-centeredness through the practice of spiritual discipline and communication with God.
*voluntarily going without food - or any other regularly enjoyed, good gift from God - for the sake of some spiritual purpose