Maintaining a Devotional Life

   March 26, 2020
 
   Welcome to our COVID-19 Connection Series. I am so glad that you are joining us today.

    Did you sleep well last night?

 Pause for Prayer: 

  • Ron Bidwell son died yesterday.
  • Idaho is in shut down mode.
  • Essential workers still working.
  • Congress passing funding

   What do you want to pray about today? Share your prayer requests in the comments this morning.

   Our WORD from the LORD today will be found in several places, so be ready to turn in your Bible.

   I want to talk about Maintaining a Devotional Time while we are being quarantined. There are four essentials that I want to go over with you. They are:

  1. Read the Bible – II Timothy 2:15; Revelation 1:3

   15 Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.

   Do you have a daily Bible reading plan? Here are some suggestions:

  • Read through the Gospel of John in 21 days.
  • Read through Proverbs in a month – 31 chapters.
  • Read through a book of the Bible in one setting.
  • Listen to the Bible through apps like You Version.

   I am going to make this online devotional available at our blog site, so you will want to go and download it as soon as we finish our time together. I would encourage you to use the chart that I am going to provide you with to keep track your Bible Reading and Prayer time and Bible time throughout our time in lockdown as a Church. Do you have a Bible reading goal? Are you desiring to improve your Quiet Time? Sometimes it is helpful to have some available tools.

   What is your goal for spending adequate time in God’s Word? Is it 15 minutes a day, or 45 minutes? Some of you spend a lot more. You can never go wrong by spending time in the Bible. And how important is prayer to your daily Quiet time? Will you pray 5 minutes or 25 minutes?
 
My Bible Chart would not upload. Find it under resources COVID-19 Handouts. 

   Do you journal? I’m not good at journaling, but I really should. As we read the Bible, we should joy down a few thoughts about what we read. It would actually help us to remember what we read. Here are four questions you might want to answer after you read through a Bible passage:

  1. What have I learned from the Bible text?
  1. Was there a Promise for me to claim?
  1. Is there a good verse for me to memorize?
  1. What questions do I now have after I read the text?
  1. Did God convict me of anything in my personal life through His Word.
 
   II. Taking time to actually Pray – Matthew 6:9-13

   “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11     Give us this day our daily bread. 12And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.

   Next, I want to talk with you about how one can develop a prayer life. I believe that there are three key essentials:

  1. You must have a time when you pray. 6:00 A.M., Noon, 8:00 P.M.?
  2. You must have a place where you pray. Prayer closet, office, bedroom?
  3. You must have a prayer list that you pray through. WHO are you praying for? Notice that I didn’t say WHAT are you praying for. 

   When you pray about a matter do you pray in faith believing that God is going to answer your prayer request?  

   Who is on your prayer list?

  • Your immediate family
  • Your neighbors
  • Your community
  • Your local civic officials (Mayor and city council)
  • Your church family -I cannot overly state the importance of keeping your church family in prayer. We must be praying for each other.
  • Your pastor and his wife
  • Missionaries that you know
  • The persecuted church – they have lived what we are presently living for decades.
  • The Pandemic crisis and our response

     Jesus taught His disciples to pray in Matthew 6:9-15. He told them to:

  1. He told them to address God as their Heavenly and Holy Father – v.
  2. He told them to express to God their desire that his Kingdom come to earth, and that His will would be done on earth like it is in Heaven – v. 10
  3. He told them to ask God to provide for their daily needs – v. 11
  4. He told them to ask God to forgive their sins, just like they have forgiven the sins of those who have wronged them – v. 12
  5. He told them that they should ask God to protect them from temptation throughout theday – v. 13

   This prayer has often been called The Lord’s Prayer, but it is more accurate to call it The Disciple’s Prayer. It is the prayer that Jesus taught His disciples to pray. The Disciple’s prayer should help us determine how to pray, and what to pray for! Now I want to challenge all of us to develop a prayer list. Have a place where you can write down all the things that God lays on your heart.

   What internal business must we all take care of before we pray? Here is a checklist of three items to look at:  

  1. Your heart – Is there any sin in my life that I have been unwilling to confess? Do I have any relationships that remain unreconciled? Am I harboring an unforgiving or bitter spirit toward anyone?
  2. Your mind – Do I have thoughts in my head that should not be there? (Romans 12:1-2)
  3. Your soul – Do you have some emotions that are not right.
  4. Your strength – Am I using the strength that God gave me to do what He has told me to do?

   If the answer to any of these is “yes” then make sure that part of your prayer time is spent confessing these things to God.

Prayer List:                                  Answered Prayer:

 

   III. Giving God Thanks – Psalm 100:4  

   Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise. Be thankful to Him, and bless His name.

   During our COVID-19 Pandemic are you finding it hard to come up with things to be Thankful for? Are you using the My Blessings List? Download it at our website under resources. I hope you will consider using it.

   I would encourage you to think of at least one thing every day for which you can sincerely give God thanks for.

  • Are you healthy? That’s something to give God thanks for.
  • Are you eating? That’s something to give God thanks for.
  • Are you warm? That’s something to give God thanks for.
  • Do you have Toilet paper? That something to give God thanks for.
  • Are you surrounded by people who love you? That’s something to give God thanks for.

   Now is the time for us to COUNT OUR BLESSINGS and name them one by one.

 
   IV. Take time to share the Gospel – Matthew 28:19-20

   18 And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Amen.

   What is some way that we can share the Gospel during these days we are living in? Here are some suggestions:

  • Tracts – Phillip Fourroux shares the Way of the Master Tracts

  The Way of the Master: http://store.livingwaters.com/catalogsearch/result/?cat=5&q=Tracts

  • Letters – Now is a great time to send a letter to a family member.
  • Social media – Make good posts – don’t be weird. Enough weird stuff out there already. Don’t post “I bet you won’t send this to 10 of your friends” That’s weird.
  • Telephone calls – Who has God laid on your heart? Reach out and touch someone (That used to be the telephone company motto).
  • Prayer – For family, friends, neighbors, co-workers, and nation.

    Here are some very practical ways:

  • Donate food and basic supplies to those in need.
  • Facetime shut ins who you can’t visit.
  • Have your children draw or paint pictures, and send them to grandparents.
  • Let your light shine (Matthew 5:13-16).