Sunday, February 9, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer - February 9, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer 2020
Day 40: Pray for Steadfastness

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. - 2 Thessalonians 1:3–4 ESV

Will you keep praying for one another? Will your love for God and love for others last? What about when trials come, when there are arguments and divisions and hurt feelings? What about when there is confrontation of sin and accountability?

If we are following Jesus and experiencing His goodness, then we will know that God's love for us overcomes afflictions and grows through difficulty. We can be steadfast because God is faithful to us. His purposes for us are not frustrated or negated. Trials will come, but God knows that. He works all things for good for His purposes (Romans 8:28). Do not give up praying for one another! Do not give up loving one another! The ability to remain steadfast is us experiencing God's strengthening and sustaining presence through His Spirit. Above all things, abide in Christ's love for you, and you will stand.

As we wrap up these 40 days, I am thankful for the good reports I've heard of how people have responded to the love that's been shared. This is historic; it happened and no one can deny it or change it. Believe in God' working through our relationships with one another, through our prayers for one another. Pray for two more people today, for them to have steadfast faith even in whatever trials they are facing. Send notes to those for whom you pray and encourage them with God's real, good love for them and for all of us. This is day 40 of praying for good, but it is not the end! Keep praying for good, and God will show up!

Saturday, February 8, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer - February 8, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer 2020
Day 39: Pray for Increasing Love

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. - 2 Thessalonians 1:3–4 ESV

What holds us back from loving others? Fear? Hurt? Judgment? Selfishness? Which do you identify with strongest?

Jesus said the most important commandment was loving God, and then He quickly added that loving others is just like it. Paul celebrates that the Thessalonian Christians have faith that is growing abundantly and love of everyone of you for one another in increasing measure. They are growing in love. They are growing in their capacity to love. They are growing in their expressions of love.

What a church! What allows us to grow in these ways? When we receive God's love, we have love to give. As God works in us to humble our hearts, convict us of sin, and to move us off of our sinful, judgmental perches, we are given over to love from Him, love for Him, and love for others. God wants us to be marked by love. God does not want us to hold back. This is His goodness working through or relationships. So here is the question: do you love the people in your church? Are you growing to love all of them more and more?

Pray for two others to grow in loving one another! Pray for reconciliation where there have been broken relationships - this is not to be in the family of God! Pray for healing and grace, for mended marriages and friendships. Send notes to those for whom you pray and ask them how you can pray for them beyond this as well. This is day 39 of praying for good!

Friday, February 7, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer - February 7, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer 2020
Day 38: Pray for Growing Faith

We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers, as is right, because your faith is growing abundantly, and the love of every one of you for one another is increasing. Therefore we ourselves boast about you in the churches of God for your steadfastness and faith in all your persecutions and in the afflictions that you are enduring. - 2 Thessalonians 1:3–4 ESV

As we wind down our forty days of prayer for our church, let us give thanks to God as we ask to experience His goodness. God is with you, wherever you are. God is for you, as He desires to bless us and bring us into His good, pleasing, and perfect will (Romans 12:2), for His own name's sake (Ezekiel 36:15-21). God calls us to faith (Genesis 15:6), and to grow in walking with Him. This is a blessing - to be able to grow in our faith (2 Peter 1:5-11) in God because He is faithful and trustworthy.

What does it mean to live a life of faith? It means we've tasted and seen the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8) and are willing to go where He leads (Psalm 23). He is the good shepherd (John 10) and we trust Him because we are His. Let your faith grow abundantly! Have more and more faith, learning to trust Him with everything in your life. Pray about everything - lift it ALL up to Him. Give God everything! Do not hold anything back! To trust Him and live by faith is a good thing. Putting ourselves in God's hands and stepping out in faith is the best place for us to be. This is His goodness under, over, in front of, and behind us.

Pray for two others to grow in faith! Pray that their burdens would be lifted up and that they would truly learn to trust God and live by faith. Send them a note and ask them how you can pray for them beyond this as well. This is day 38 of praying for good!


Thursday, February 6, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer - February 6, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer 2020
Day 37: Pray to Avoid Temptation and Sin

Matthew 6:9-13 The Lord's Prayer
"Pray then like this:
'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.'"

Do you know what sin is? What is temptation? We break God's commands and break God's heart by our sin, when we do anything that He doesn't want and when we don't do things that He calls and commands us to do. Having a difficult relationship with someone that it causes you to wish they weren't in your life? That's sin - God put that person in your life and you're supposed to show them God's love and grace! Sometimes showing God's love means getting messy and dirty and dealing with the difficulty of growth out of sin and into godliness. Sometimes it's tough love that has tough conversations. Are you tempted to avoid such things?

God leads us not into temptation but deliver[s] us from evil! How? By grace, He exposes our sin and steers us away from sin and into His goodness. The best way to avoid temptation is to abide in Christ and enjoy His goodness. But there is still temptation and we have to be real about it, be honest about it, and be humble about it. Ask God for help! Get some accountability through friends with whom you can share your struggles. Let God teach you how to fight temptation and evil. And let God teach us what it means to walk in the victory Christ has won for us!

You do not need to flirt with sin and you do not need to give in. Thank God for setting us free! Pray for two people who are battling temptation and sin - pray for God to lead them out of it! Send them a note and ask them how you can pray for them beyond this as well. This is day 37 of praying for people to experience God's goodness.


Wednesday, February 5, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer - February 5, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer 2020
Day 36: Pray for Forgiveness and Freedom

Matthew 6:9-13 The Lord's Prayer
"Pray then like this:
'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.'"

Today we are thanking God for how we experience His goodness through His forgiveness of us. When we pray forgive us our debts, we are asking for God to apply to us the grace of Jesus' sacrifice on the cross. There is NO reason why God should forgive us when we sin. Nothing about us causes Him to forgive us; after all, the likelihood of our sinning again is pretty high. God forgives us because He is good, He is gracious, and He is kind. To marry His love with His holiness, He had to send His own Son.

Remember that for Him to forgive us our debts, it cost God His only Son.

Many times when we pray the Lord's Prayer, we run through each bit so quickly that we do not even think of it. That's how it is with much of God's goodness that He shares with us. Thank God for His gracious forgiveness. And then share it with others.

Pray for two people to be humbled today by the goodness of God's forgiveness of our sins. We must ask Him for forgiveness, as it takes us through the act of acknowledging our sin. Pray for two others to be floored by God's goodness in this. Send them a note and ask them how you can pray for them beyond this as well. This is day 36 of praying for people to experience God's goodness.


Tuesday, February 4, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer - February 4, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer 2020
Day 35: Pray for Awareness of Our Father

Matthew 6:9-13 The Lord's Prayer
"Pray then like this:
'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.'"

It's Tuesday and we are praying today for God to give us this day our daily bread. Do you pray before your meals? Oftentimes we take these blessings for granted. There are many around the world, over 800 million, who are experiencing hunger and food insecurity. We take food for granted in this country. So the idea of praying for daily bread is somewhat foreign for most of us. But just like when we take a moment to pray for each meal we eat, it is important to pray acknowledging God's goodness in providing for us each day of life and each morsel of nourishment we receive. God makes things grow, including our food, and without God's faithful administration of the world, we would perish. Each day is a gift from God. And each day He fills it with His goodness.

Pray and thank God for giving us all we need to live and flourish. Acknowledge that each day is a gift from Him. Pray for two others, that they would also appreciate each day and the sustenance we receive. Write down their names, and send them a note that you're praying for them to enjoy God's faithful support of our lives, and ask them how you can pray for them! This is day 35 of praying for people to acknowledge God's goodness.


Monday, February 3, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer - February 3, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer 2020
Day 34: Pray for Awareness of Our Father

Matthew 6:9-13 The Lord's Prayer
"Pray then like this:
'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.'"

Happy Monday! Some people will be tired this morning after watching last night's game. The Kansas City Chiefs feel like kings today after last night's victory. But next year there will be another Super Bowl and most likely a different champion: repeating is difficult in the NFL.

But God our Heavenly Father is always on His throne. When we pray Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven, we are praying a mighty prayer. We are asking for God to allow us to experience the goodness of His Kingdom and His reign in our lives. We are asking God to bridge the chasm that lay between a beautiful, wonder-filled heaven and our broken, sin-stained world. And God has done that in Jesus Christ Himself. Diety took on humanity and the heavenly became tangible. We are praying for God to reign in our lives.

Are you ready for this? Are you ready for Him to take over your life? Praying for His Kingdom to come also means that we are going to honor Him as King, to acknowledge His jurisdiction over each area of our lives, too. But this is for our good. So pray for His Kingdom presence in your life today. He is the only one who can sit on that throne and administrate a reign that is perfectly good.

Pray for two others who need to know God as King and need to give God reign over their lives. Write down their names, and send them a note that you're praying for them to grow as He reigns over us (and ask them for any other prayer requests)! This is day 34 of praying for people to experience God's goodness.


Sunday, February 2, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer - February 2, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer 2020
Day 33: Pray for Awareness of Our Father

Matthew 6:9-13 The Lord's Prayer
"Pray then like this:
'Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.'"

Who better to learn a prayer from than God the Son? Jesus taught His disciples a simple but very meaningful prayer. First, we address God as our Father in heaven, and then we pray hallowed be your name. What a powerful combination! Why? We have an intimate relationship with Him as His children. Getting to address Him as Father was a) stepping away from the Old Testament pattern of addressing God (though His parental care for them was mentioned all throughout the OT), and b) putting us into a relationship with God that resembles Jesus' own relationship with the Father! That is rather mind-blowing. Jesus gives us a relationship to God that is like His own relationship to God. Wow. Just wow.

And then we pray for God's name to be hallowed, that His name would be glorified. He is near and He is exalted at the same time. Never forget that we have THE GOD OF THE UNIVERSE as our Father in heaven! Addressing God as Father and hallowed sets a ridiculously amazing tone for how we get to pray. Remember, God is listening and already knows our needs. He is inviting us to know Him as Father and as the God of glory!

Do you pray with this double-pointed awareness of God? Pray for two other people to be blessed with this awareness of our Father. Write down their names, and send them a note that you're praying for them to grow in relationship with the Father (and ask them for any other prayer requests)! This is day 33 of praying for people to experience God's goodness as our Father invites us to meet with Him.


Saturday, February 1, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer - February 1, 2020

EACF 40 Days of Prayer 2020
Day 32: Pray for Encouragement that God Knows Our Needs

Matthew 6:7-13 The Lord's Prayer
"And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:
“Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name.
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil."

Have you ever had a friend that seems to read your mind before you can even say what you're thinking? It's kinda unnerving, but it's also kinda comforting. You are known, you are loved, and you are cared for. That's how God is with us.

Jesus said we do not have to heap up words to try to get God's attention. It doesn't mean that we don't have to pray; Jesus is just about to teach His disciples how to pray. But it does mean that we are not trying to earn God's attention or blessings by praying a certain way. The best way to pray is to pray acknowledging who God is - He is omnipotent, omniscient, and always aware of our needs even before we ask. God is just waiting for us to set aside our pride, to turn to Him and ask for help. And when we humble ourselves and then actually pray, we encounter the conviction of our sin, the redirection to His holiness, the grace lifting our burdens, and the warmth, the care, the I-knew-it-before-you-said-it goodness of God.

Do you know anyone who struggles to pray? Pray for them today, to know that it is easy to pray because God knows everything already. The hardest part is humbling ourselves. Pray for two people to receive the blessing of humility that brings them to pray. Write down their names, and encourage them to by sending them a note! This is day 32 of praying for people to experience God's goodness as He draws us closer to His heart.


Recovering Glory Everyday

Sunday, August 2, 2020 This past Sunday's sermon was about  recovering glory . While rebuilding our relationship with God is less a form...