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My Daily Devotional Prayer Book
By Johnny Hunt
J COUNTRYMANCopyright © 2010 Thomas Nelson, Inc.
All right reserved.
Chapter OneWeek 1. Monday
Heavenly Father, Your grace is sufficient and abundant. Thank You for caring so deeply and dearly for Your family. Help me to honor You by representing You well today. I ask for opportunities to sow seeds in the lives of those around me that will bring a great spiritual harvest for Your glory. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
But this I say: He who sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and he who sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver. 2 Corinthians 9:6, 7
Every farmer or hobby gardener knows that a seed in a basket will not produce a harvest. Yes, everyone knows that in order to reap, one must be faithful and diligent to sow the seeds. The principle is true not only in the field, but also in the life of every believer. To sow bountifully is to invest in God's kingdom. When we do this, our heavenly Father returns the investment with His rich blessing. Conversely, sowing sparingly will bring a small harvest and a small reward.
Since this is true, believers should give not out of cold-hearted calculation, but from warm-hearted jubilation. We should give not with a sense of obligation, but with a sincere heart of generosity. Remember that our Lord loves and delights in the kind of giving that comes from a cheerful attitude, and we are never more like Jesus than when we are giving. Take joy today in the privilege of blessing others through generous giving.
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Lord Jesus, this day is a gift from You. May Your graciousness toward me inspire a heart of gratitude and a hand of generosity toward You and others. You are indeed good, and Your teachings are true. Amen.
Week 1, Tuesday
Heavenly Father, help me realize today that You are more than enough to meet every need that I will be confronted with today. Help me feel with Your heart and touch with Your hand. I surrender afresh right now and bow in Your presence to confess, "You are Lord." In Christ's name, Amen.
Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk." And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. Acts 3:6, 7
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What is the greatest gift you have ever received? I think back to January 7,1973, when I received the greatest gift of my life. I repented of my sins that day and placed my faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. That very instant, He gave me the gift of salvation and sealed my eternal destiny. As a result, my past is forgiven, my present is blessed, and my future is secure.
In today's passage, Peter and John did not apologize for not providing what the crippled man expected. The truth is, what the man requested was not his greatest need. This man didn't need silver or gold—he needed God's touch on his life. Only when we walk in spiritual discernment will we view people's greatest need—their need for the Lord. As in the first century, there will be needs we feel we cannot meet. However, there is no need that Jesus cannot meet! Live today in light of His name, touching others with His goodness and power.
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Jesus, what a wonder You are. You can heal and deliver the captives. As I walk in Your victory, may I join You in Your ministry. Amen.
Week 1, Wednesday
Lord, here I am beginning another new day, which is nothing short of a gift from You. May I treat this day in a way that acknowledges Your goodness in giving it. Bless You, Father. I give You thanks in Jesus' name. Amen.
Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 1 Timothy 4:14, 15
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Undoubtedly, the gifts the Lord has placed within us are intended to serve as an encouragement to others. First Peter 4:10 says, "As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God." Clearly, God intended spiritual gifts to benefit the whole body of Christ. When we neglect His investment in us, we rob the body of His ministry to them through us. Just think how wonderful it is that the Lord has given you a supernatural ability to use for His glory and the good of others. The Lord desires for you to use the gift He's put in you to advance His work—what a privilege!
As you live this day, "meditate on these things" and consider ways you can use your God-given abilities to benefit those around you. Be totally consumed with His will and His work. As you follow the Captain of our salvation to Christlikeness, others should be able to mark your progress. Live today in a way that counts for Christ.
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Lord, I pray that You would continually make me more like Christ and that Your work in me would be clear for others to see and follow. As I retire from another blessed day, I thank You for Your enabling power in my life. Amen.
Week 1, Thursday
Lord, help me not to face this new day without committing myself to all You have planned for me. May I not look for an easy road, but for the road You are on. In Jesus' name, Amen.
If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. Matthew 5:40–42
Jesus often challenges us to live and give in a way that even the law does not demand. I like to call it being "a second-miler" for Christ. It symbolizes a greater commitment to the way of love than the way of demanding our rights. We surrender our rights in order to follow His example. Odus Scruggs taught me during my college days that "you will never miss anything you give away." When a task is laid on you, even under unreasonable circumstances, don't do it as a grim duty to be resented; do it as a service to be rendered gladly. We dislike giving up our rights or possessions and often forget that nothing truly belongs to us. We are only stewards of what belongs to God.
What Jesus has demanded calls for one main thing: death to self. Turn away from possessiveness and offer all you have to God for His use. He may call on you today to meet a genuine need, so walk through this day with open-handed generosity and stay alert to His leading.
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Lord, everything I possess is a gift from You. I thank You for Your abundant provision and ask You to help me to be ready always to give freely, even as I have received. Amen.
Week 1, Friday
Lord, I know that my actions clearly reflect what is in my heart. Help me to be a reflection of You today as I seek to radiate Your precious presence. I pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." Matthew 19:21
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I once heard this great quote by Amy Carmichael: "You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving." You see, giving has a way of exposing the true nature of one's heart. Just as He was during His days on earth, Jesus today is looking for a person of faith who is willing to surrender to Him regardless of the cost. His call to selfless generosity often reveals that we love our possessions and ourselves more than we love our neighbors. Money has a unique way of showing whether we truly recognize Jesus is Lord of all, and generosity is one of the many indicators of spiritual maturity.
It should be our constant prayer that we would not be tight-fisted with our resources. Jesus said, "Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also" (Matthew 6:21). When we learn that the real treasure is the kingdom of God, our hearts will not hesitate to put all our resources into it. Deepen your relationship with Christ by living with open hands in loving surrender to Him.
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Lord, I am certainly a greedy person apart from You working in my heart. Purify my heart, Father, and grant me opportunities to display my great love for You in the way I live and give. May my hands be open in order to receive from You and give freely to others. Amen.
Week 1, Weekend
Heavenly Father, I realize that it is one thing to acknowledge that all I have comes from You, but it is another thing altogether to realize You are a giver and that I should seek to emulate You. May I learn to give rather than accumulate, so that my life pictures You. In Christ's name, Amen.
"Be angry, and do not sin": do not let the sun go down on your wrath, nor give place to the devil. Let him who stole steal no longer, but rather let him labor, working with his hands what is good, that he may have something to give him who has need. Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers. Ephesians 4:26–29
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Jesus is concerned about believers' words and actions. When believers allow the Enemy to have his way in their lives, it changes the way they talk and walk. Jesus often spoke of having "good eyes," referring to eyes that not only see needs, but actively look for needs to meet. Can you picture yourself praying each morning for "good eyes" so you can identify needs the Lord has blessed you with the means to meet?
Jesus was providentially in places in order to meet particular needs (for example, the woman at the well in John 4). Likewise, He places us in particular situations where we can become aware of a need and then feel His gentle prompting to meet it. It may be a word of encouragement, or it may be a gift of time or money. God knows the need, and He knows how to meet it. No matter the specifics, trust Him today to lead you to those in need and to enable you to help them.
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Almighty God, You are the One who has met my every need and my deepest need. May I be a conduit through which You meet needs in the lives of those around me. Amen.
Week 2, Monday
Lord, remind me today that You are all I need. Amen.
Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. 1 Timothy 6:6–8
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What would it take for you to feel content? For most of us, our days are filled with ordinary moments like getting the kids ready for school and waiting in traffic to and from work. The little personal time we steal for rest can be quickly forgotten in the nervous pace of our daily lives. Are we content? Or is there a restlessness for something more just below the surface?
As I write this devotion I am in New York City, the financial capital of the world. I am reminded everywhere I turn that the dreams of this world can be summed up in one phrase: "Give me more."
John Wesley once said, "Earn all you can. Save all you can. Give all you can." The twenty-first century's philosophy seems to be the opposite: "Get all you can, can all you get, sit on the can, and poison the rest." The desire for "more" never brings contentment. Our Scripture for today says that "godliness with contentment is great gain." The New Testament word godliness is one word made up of two words in the Greek language. The first word is eu and it means "good." It survives in English in the word eulogy, literally meaning a "good word" about a person at their funeral. The second part of the word is the Greek word sebias. We get the English name Sebastian from this word, and it means "worship." So the word translated as "godliness" carries the idea of "good worship." Contentment is found in "godliness," which from a practical standpoint means being a "good worshiper"! God promises the "good worshiper" a contentment we can actually call "gain." In other words, godly contentment is the way forward—it's a profit. So when you feel restless, content yourself in worship and you will share in God's rich reward.
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Father, let me content myself in You. Amen.
Week 2, Tuesday
Lord, today I want to live out my faith and share the Good News. Amen.
Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed. 1 Peter 3:15, 16
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Does it ever seem to you that the good you do goes unnoticed by the unchurched world? It sometimes seems like the cynic who said, "No good deed goes unpunished," was right. Nowhere is this more evident than when we witness for Christ. Who hasn't felt the sting of criticism for sharing his or her faith?
Yet when it comes to sharing the Good News, we have a mandate from the Lord to "live out loud" and share Christ with others. In today's passage, the Bible calls our salvation "the hope that is in [us]" and says we should "always be ready to give a defense" of that hope. In other words, we have to be prepared not only to "step up" and live the Christian life, but also to "speak up" for Jesus. Unbelievers should be able to see the Good News in both our conduct and our conversation.
In December 2008,a journalist named Matthew Parris wrote an article for The Times of London entitled, "As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God." Having grown up in Malawi, Parris understood the people there. Going back years later, he saw the positive impact of Christian evangelism. He said, "It ... embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God," and added, "I've become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa."
Our ready defense of the hope within us can literally leave our critics ashamed of their slander when they see the good our God does through us!
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Father, bless those who could see and hear Jesus in me today. Amen.
Week 2, Wednesday
Lord, today let me love the people I meet as a ministry to You. Amen.
Above all things have fervent love for one another, for "love will cover a multitude of sins." Be hospitable to one another without grumbling. As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. 1 Peter 4:8–10
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Do your priorities change when you have a deadline? A pastor friend of mine frequently reminds his staff that people don't do what's expected; they do what's inspected. Most of us know the feeling of cramming for a final exam or rushing to tidy a room before company comes. But what about even bigger issues, like our main purpose for living? If we recognized a "deadline" for that, would we be more focused and intentional?
Scripture teaches that history itself has an ending point. First Peter 4:7 says, "The end of all things is at hand." The apostle Peter clarified what we are to do in light of the end of all things. Of course, realizing history has a deadline makes seriousness and prayer essential, but we are also commanded to "have fervent love for one another."
The word fervent literally means "to stretch out." We might say that we are to love beyond our comfort zone as the end nears. According to Scripture, that kind of stretched-out love includes being hospitable, which is a combination of two Greek words—one meaning "love of friends" and the other "strangers." So hospitality involves willingness to love those we do not know as if they are our brothers and sisters.
The Christian message is revolutionary in every way, and we require God's help if we hope to live it! No wonder Scripture reminds us in today's passage that we will demonstrate this "end-time love" when we exercise our spiritual gifts (v.10). When we love like that, we literally dispense the blessings of God toward others as a gift!
Excerpted from My Daily Devotional Prayer Book by Johnny Hunt Copyright © 2010 by Thomas Nelson, Inc.. Excerpted by permission of J COUNTRYMAN. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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