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14 Days of Prayer - Fall 2017 - Week 1

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Day 1 – Sunday, September 17th – Pastor Jereme Smith

 Scripture Reading: Luke 15:32

      Lost and found. What comes to your mind when you read those words? Is it the picture of a cardboard box labeled “lost and found” with all sorts of different items in it that people have ‘lost’ over a period of time? Perhaps it’s the thought of a destination? Author John Ortberg writes in Soul Keeping, that a person is not lost because they will end up in the wrong place. They are going to end up in the wrong place because they are lost. If a car no longer works it doesn’t matter if it ends up in the junkyard or on the show room floor of Tesla. Its condition is broken. A question we must ask ourselves is, “what is the condition of my soul?”

        Many factors play into the condition of one’s soul. To be lost speaks to a soul that is (unhealthy, scared, dislocated, detached, uptight, chaotic, cluttered, hardened, shallow, confused, etc.). To be found speaks to soul that is (healthy, peaceful, centered, assured, joyful, quiet, soft, focused, accepting, content, restful, etc.). I’m not talking about feelings, but condition. You can be saved and still not have real peace because of unresolved issues in your life or unconfessed sin that you’ve harbored in your heart, etc. There are many contributing factors that affect the condition of our soul. If ignored, we can spend our days on earth lost never really fulfilling the purpose for which God created us. If the condition of our soul is healthy, it can produce a life that is God-fearing and God-honoring. What are some factors that affect the condition of your soul today?

         Here are two factors that you can consider that have the potential to negatively affect our soul. They are sowing and speaking. The first one asks the question, what am I sowing into other people’s lives? The Bible is clear that whatever a person sows that will they also reap (Galatians 6:7). It’s important to pay attention to what we sow into others. What I sow into others says a whole lot about the condition of my own soul. Sow into others what you want to reap in your life. The second one asks the question what am I speaking over my own life? What I speak over my life says a whole a lot about the condition of my own soul. If we’ll practice speaking the Word of life over our own life we’ll discover that we’ll live life more encouraged within, able to encourage others without, and ultimately the enemy of our souls will be staggered by confusion. It’s important to pay attention to what we are speaking over our life (Psalm 42:5). Both of these have great affect over the condition of our soul.

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Day 2 – Monday, September 18th – Pastor Haley Smith

“And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world and lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Matthew 16: 26

         Maybe many of you were like me on Sunday. When I heard that the new series of messages from Pastor Jereme was titled, “Lost and Found”, I thought for sure he was going to mainly focus on the Prodigal Son and throw in a little, “leave the ninety and nine to go find the one.” I even used those, age appropriate, themes in the lessons I put together for New Life Kids this month. The idea of praying and interceding for the lost really resonated with me and what I’ve been hearing from the Holy Spirit. God is assuredly calling us to that in this season.   So, when he started the series with the question, “What is the condition of my soul?” I realized that we were starting with a self-evaluation.

        When proposed with the questions, what am I sowing and what am I speaking into my world, I had to admit that my soul can become sick. Even when I feel like the farthest thing from the Prodigal Son, the condition of my soul can be in jeopardy. Fear, disappointment, anxiety, busyness…. these and more can be the enemy of our souls. They all come from the enemy, the devil. King Solomon implored us in Proverbs 4:23, “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it flow the issues of life.”

         Pastor Jereme exhorted us that the only one who keep our soul in the right condition is Jesus. We must feed our soul with the Word, with time spent in His presence, with rest, and with time spent in prayer. We must guard our heart and examine our souls on a regular basis.

         My prayer for myself and for all of us is that we will draw closer to Jesus every day. That the cares of this world will become shadows in the light of Him. That our souls will break forth into joy. That we will all celebrate together as we watch God answer prayers and we see the prodigals come home. Let the celebration begin!

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Day 3 – Tuesday, September 19th – Morgan Nash

        Everyone has heard of the parable of the prodigal son. A son leaves his father with his inheritance to go out into the world to do as he pleases. He eventually runs out of money and resorts to feeding the pigs for a job. He decides to go back to his father to beg for his forgiveness and asks for a job as a servant thinking that his father could never forgive him for what he had done. When he was in sight of the house, his father saw him in the distance and ran to envelop him in his embrace. The father then celebrates his lost son returning to him.

        Many people believe that God could never forgive them of their sins or he can only forgive the “little” sins. All sins are equal in God’s eyes. There is no sin too big for him to forgive. His forgiveness is never ending. He wants you to come back when you stray away from him. There is nothing that you could do that would make him not want you anymore. Why would he die on the cross if he wouldn’t forgive you? That was the whole purpose of his crucifixion and resurrection so that you could be forgiven and live with him in heaven for eternity. Just like the prodigal son’s father, He’s there waiting for you. When you do come to him he gives you his forgiveness immediately. No hesitation! Embrace his love and forgiveness fully and thank him daily for it.

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Day 4 – Wednesday, September 20th – Tony Reed

“The Shepherd finds lost sheep”

Devotional scriptures: Psalm 3:5-6; 66:16

A few days after the death of my father, I became lost and my soul was very unhealthy. Up until my father’s passing, those around me, especially my wife, thought I was one of the most faith-filled people they knew. In my now 35 years of life, I’ve seen a lot, experienced a lot and have, with the mighty hand of God, conquered several giants in my life.

But, the death of my father shook me to my very soul. The devil took that opportunity to try to not only throw me off-course but to make me give up on life.

My soul was all of the things that Pastor Jereme preached about in “Sowing and Speaking”, the first sermon in the sermon series “Lost & Found”. It was dislocated, detached. uptight, chaotic, cluttered, hardened, shallow and so much more. I didn’t think I was going to make it and for a short time, I really didn’t care.

I had so much faith that my father would experience a miraculous recovery and that he would still be alive today that when he died, I felt God had let me down, that having faith didn’t work and my soul began to walk away from Him.

Yet, even in the moments that the devil whispered to me, “God’s not real,” I found myself praying to God, asking for strength. I even asked Him why he didn’t heal my dad. He answered some days later by reminding me that my dad had been in and out of the hospital for several years before he died. Each time he went into the hospital, doctors said it didn’t look good, but I prayed that God would heal him and each time, God reminded me, He did. I prayed that my dad would give his life to God before he died and he did. Most importantly, I prayed that I made it to see my dad before he died and tell him how much I love him, how much he means to me and how thankful that I had him as a father and God granted me that petition.

God reminded me that just because I had walked away from Him because I was heartbroken, He was still there with me, loving me, caring for me and believing the very best about me. He reminded me of the encouraging things my father would say to me and reminded me that my dad wants me to continue living and being the man God called me to be and fulfill the purpose I was created for.

Most importantly, and as I write this and you read this, I believe God knew that I was able to go through that period of being lost because of the faith He has given me and the purpose He has created me for. He also wanted me to share this devotional with you and encourage you that if you are lost and are reading this, there’s still time to ask Him to heal your soul and make you whole.

It doesn’t have to be the death of a loved one that causes your soul to become unhealthy. It can be the loss of a job, a rebellious child, disagreements with your spouse or any number of circumstances. But, we have to remember that the Lord is our shepherd and that if we are lost, He will find us. All we have to do is call out for help.

Throughout my lost period, God brought this verse back to my remembrance. I hope it encourages you like it has and continues to encourage me: “Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; He’s the one who will keep you on track.” Proverbs 3:5-6 (MSG)

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Day 5 – Thursday, September 21st – Brandon Bailey

I was a 13-year-old prodigal son and no one knew it.

My “faithful” church attendance and ability to “keep up appearances” fooled those around me but my heart was elsewhere. This gradual turning away would eventually lead me down a path of rebellion and destructive habits, but in the beginning, the drift was subtle. Looking back, I now realize how crucial Proverbs 4:23 truly is… “Guard your heart above all else, for it is the source of life.” (HCSB) The state of the heart changes everything – relationships, decisions, morality, faith, mood, behavior, and so much more. But foremost, the condition of your heart determines how you respond to God. It’s no wonder scripture is so adamant about being diligent in this. Just listen to the wording again – “above all else.”   Without careful watch, we are all prone to wander, to become prodigal to varying degrees, even if only in certain areas of life. Prayer and careful examination can bring this to light.

Becoming a prodigal child of God can be a gradual, downward spiral of the heart, but one that can be salvaged as we turn to Lord as David described in Psalm 51… “God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” (v10)   Today, choose to press further into – not away from – your relationship with God and the calling he has placed on your life.

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Day 6 – Friday, September 22nd – Pastor Prentis Woods

It was a two lane road on a hot night in New Mexico. Mother in the back seat, me and Dad in the front going to another revival. I was about 10 years old and was getting nervous looking back and forth between Mother and Dad for assurances, Mother was calm as could be. I thought we were lost. I finally worked up enough courage to ask Dad, are we Lost? Dad just said, NO. At that I was quiet for a while. Working up my nerve once again I said to Dad one word. Why? Dad said, we are not lost because I have driven this road three times in the last month. Soon as we topped the next hill I saw the lights of Albuquerque. Scooting over closer to Dad and feeling his tapping on my leg, I thought. Dad’s driving this car and he never get lost because before I was ever born he had already driven these roads.

Later in life when I got lost a few times I called home, Dad would always tell me how to get back on the road. In the same way, our Heavenly Father is always there. It reminds me of the song. "He was there all the time." I was never lost I was just not on the right road.

I too was lost but now I'm found! Was blind but now I can see

You may find days that you think your lost, but God has a GPS on you.

When you let him, he will lead you too.

To Safe Harbor.

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Day 7 – Saturday, September 23rd – Max Garner

The Power of Confession

Sometimes it is very hard to confess your shortcomings or sins. There is a natural inclination to keep things inside and away from the light. Fear’s strongest muscle is, the muscle of secrecy. We all have or may be now be carrying great burdens or sins that we have kept secret for years. The Lord God knows those secrets and he has protected you and guided you for all those years waiting for the perfect time to confront you with grace and love.

The best thing that can ever happen to you is that you come out of the darkness of fear and hopelessness. The darkness can and will consume you. The light, of God’s love, will also consume you. The Lord Jesus Christ is available and ready to hear your confession today…right now.

I call you to the presence of Christ now, and through the power of the Holy Spirit I speak life and restoration to you. Call on him, cry to him, scream to the top of your lungs if need be. He is waiting right now. Let your confession be your turning point in life, the change you have dreamed about. It will be the most wonderful thing to ever happen in your life. Also, do not forget that the devil will be upset…so what…he is already defeated. Confess and be found.

 

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