West End Assembly of God
Saturday, January 24, 2015
Daily Devotional Guide
January 19-24, 2015
UNSHAKEABLE: Building An Unshakeable Faith
MONDAY – January 19
Revelation 3:2 – Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have found your deeds unfinished in the sight of my God.
Why is it so easy for us to be lulled to sleep, to become passive when it comes to our faith—even when we have enjoyed past experiences of deep, spiritual vitality? We cannot coast on yesterday’s faith experiences anymore than a farmer can coast on last year’s harvest. We enjoy the rich benefits of faith’s impression upon every aspect of our lives, but it is something we must continue to nurture. We must exert effort and “press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 3:14), especially since the world around us influences our hearts and minds every day (whether we realize it or not). There is no room to coast when it comes to faith. An “unshakeable faith” cannot be built that way. Some of the people at the church in Sardis had become lax and risked having their names blotted out of the book of life. Are you coasting? Repent. Ask the Holy Spirit to blow upon the embers as you recommit to wholehearted devotion to Christ.
TUESDAY – January 20
Revelation 3:8 – I know your deeds...I know that you have little strength, yet you have kept my word and have not denied my name…
Christ has no criticism for the church at Philadelphia, only an instruction to keep the faith. He who is omniscient and whose look penetrates the heart, He who knows the real story and remains unimpressed by our press releases and long resumes—He actually commends them. They may have been small in number and poor, but they had strength because they kept His word. “If anyone loves me he will keep my Word” (John 14:23). As we align our life with His teachings, He enables us to grow in faith and become strong in spirit. The Philadelphia church was loyal in spite of heavy persecution. Verse 10 adds this: “…you have kept my command to endure patiently…” They were stable no matter what madness encircled them. They trusted God in the tough times, and in the good times they refused to be distracted from their faith. What a model for us today! Have you been pulled off center by your trials? Realign with God’s Word. Have you been led off-road by the distractions of wealth and prosperity? Make Jesus Christ your Lord. He knows our hearts. He knows our deeds. Let that truth humble us before God today.
WEDNESDAY – January 21
Revelation 3:15, 18 – I know your deeds…I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire…white clothes to wear so you can cover your nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes so you can see.
Christ had no commendation for this church in Laodicea. They were indifferent to the things of God. They thought they were wealthy and self-sufficient when, in reality, they were wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. Remember Israel’s Old Testament “glory days”? After they finally entered the Promised Land and settled into all God’s inheritance for them, when King Solomon built his glorious Temple and the whole land enjoyed peace, what evil began to creep into the souls of God’s people? Self-sufficiency. Like undetected cancer cells, the “self sins” began to take hold of the nation and lead them away from their God and their calling. Has our culture taken this unnerving turn? How readily do you repent for any failure? How quickly do you run to Christ to make right any sin? Isaiah stood in God’s presence and his immediate awareness of God’s holiness made him cry out, “Woe is me, I am ruined. I am a man of unclean lips…” (Isaiah 6:5). Do you make excuses for bad behavior, or do you run to the cross? Christ stands outside the door of our hearts, knocking to request access (vs. 20). He longs for intimate communion. Only that kind of relationship breeds unshakeable faith.
THURSDAY – January 22
Revelation 3:22 – Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches.
Jesus calls us to holiness; and that includes separation from the world’s value system in order to be totally committed to Him. Don’t be deceived. Unshakeable faith comes as we align our lives with our unshakeable Lord. How easily does your heart discern the voice of the Spirit as He teaches you in His daily classroom of life? Evil seeks access to our hearts and minds, often through the constant barrage of media. What are you watching? What do you listen to? Whose words do you believe? What are you reading? Do you know God’s Word well enough to measure everything else against it before letting it into your heart? If not, make a firm commitment to learn the truth found in the Bible. Become intentional about integrating God’s Word into your life: each day through daily devotions and our Media Library; each week through small group studies, adult discipleship classes, and Sunday Morning worship; each month by reading a Christian book on a topic that the Holy Spirit chooses for you; each quarter through a designed “time out” for contemplative prayer; and annually through spiritual goal setting retreats as you evaluate your growth and effectiveness in Kingdom matters. What is the Spirit saying to you?
FRIDAY – January 23
Revelation 1:4b-5 – Grace and peace to you from Him who is, and who was, and who is to come, and from the seven spirits before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler of the kings of the earth.
Revelation begins and ends as a typical New Testament letter. Although it contains seven letters to the seven churches, it is clear that every member is to “hear” the message to each of the churches, as well as the message of the entire book, so that they can obey it. After the seven letters, comes the prophecy, filled with figurative language that points to spiritual realities in and behind historical experience. Vivid visions containing symbolic images and numbers that echo those found in the prophetic books of the Old Testament, enable us to sit above the world we know and watch an unfolding of a cosmic pageant. We watch the push and pull of spiritual powers upon world events through images that make modern-day cinema special effects look like child’s play. Revelation leaves us breathless when we realize it is prophecy. It was not “sealed up” (22:10) because it is relevant to Christians in every generation. We begin to sense the enormity of this thing we call the Kingdom of God. We hear the call to holiness, moral purity, godly zeal, obedience to scripture, and radical commitment to Christ no matter the cost. We witness the culmination of all things as Jesus Christ reveals Himself as King of Kings and Lord of Lords (Rev. 19:16). When Handel composed “The Hallelujah Chorus,” (largely based in the book of Revelation) his assistant found him in tears saying, “I did think I saw heaven open, and saw the very face of God.” Revelation challenges us to live close to God: “The Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come’ “ (22:17). How are you responding?
SATURDAY – January 24
Ephesians 1:18-19a – I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.
When we open our Bibles to read, preface your reading with this prayer. We need the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of our understanding, just as He did for the two disciples at Emmaus: and their eyes were opened, and they knew Him (Luke 24:31). The Holy Spirit has been sent to help us understand God’s Word, what it says, what it means, and how it applies to us today. The prerequisite is an open heart. Jesus prayed, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes…” (Luke 10:21). People who are wise in their own eyes and who have closed their hearts to the Spirit will only find themselves in a never-ending loop of frustrating questions; but those who seek to know God have a promise: “And you shall seek me and find me, when you search for me with all your heart” (Jer. 29:13). The Holy Spirit enlightens us as we read. He also helps us make proper use of the revelation. Always come with an open heart to God’s Word.