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Day 21: Respond in Thanksgiving

Psalm 100 “Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth. Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before Him with joyful singing. Know that the Lord Himself is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving And His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him, bless His name. For the Lord is good; His lovingkindness is everlasting And His faithfulness to all generations.”

Devotional · · · We respond in thanksgiving to God at the revelation of who He is as our Creator—for all of His amazing goodness, everlasting lovingkindness, and enduring faithfulness. The Apostle Paul teaches that thankfulness should permeate our entire life as followers of Jesus. “Always be joyful. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18) In good times or bad, in the greenest pasture or in the darkest valley, we can respond with thanksgiving. For our thanks is not rooted in the issues we face. It is built on the truth that God is with us at all times and in all things. Our thanksgiving is based on what He has done and on the promise of what He will do.

The greek word for “thanks” is eucharisteo, at the center of which is charis, meaning “grace.” The Eucharist, or Communion, is a response of thankfulness that moves us from repentance over our sins which made the cross necessary to rejoicing in how Jesus met us in our greatest need. The good news of His death and resurrection is what we are most thankful for! So, may we echo this Psalm of David in our lives, in our families, and in our church from generation to generation: “I will give thanks to you, Lord, with all my heart; I will tell of all your wonderful deeds. I will be glad and rejoice in you; I will sing the praises of your name, O Most High.” (Psalm 9:1-2)

Prayer · · · Lord of All Creation, it is with great humility that we stand before Your throne in awe of all that You have done for us. May our praises be joyful, acceptable and pleasing to You. There are a million things we can be thankful for, acknowledging the blessings you have given us as Your people. God, may we be most thankful for the gift of Your Son who lived the perfect life we could never live, who paid the price for our sins that we could never pay and who made a way for us to draw near to You. Help us to respond in thanksgiving through every circumstance of life, knowing that You are with us and that You go before us. To You and You alone be all the glory in our lives and in our church to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

 

Day 20: Respond in Giving

2 Corinthians 9:6-8 - “Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.”

Devotional · · · God desires that one of the ways we respond to Him in worship is by giving. The Bible has a lot to say about money, wealth, greed and generosity. Scripture talks about giving a tithe (the first 10% of our income), about giving a sacrifice, about giving to those in need. The intentional habit of giving reminds us that our only master is God. It reminds us that our security, provision and fulfillment is not in the wealth of this world, but in God alone. He inherently does not require our money. But we have the opportunity, as an act of worship and obedience, to trust Him with our finances by giving a portion back to Him.

In Mark 12:41-44 we encounter a crowd sowing their offerings into the temple treasury. While there were many rich people that contributed larger amounts, a widow of poor wealth gave the only two coins she had. And Jesus said to the crowd that it was in fact the widow who had given the most, because out of a cheerful heart and a spirit that desired to offer her best, she gave literally everything she had. May this challenge us as we give our offerings to the Lord, whether it be our finances, our time, or anything else that the Lord has been so gracious to provide us with.

Prayer · · · Almighty God, we acknowledge that every good thing comes from You. You have promised to meet all our needs from Your glorious riches. We are not worthy of all the gifts You’ve chosen to bestow upon us; but out of Your extravagant love for us, You choose to bless us. As we reflect on this, may it bring us to a place of humility and generosity as we give back to You cheerfully in whatever form it may take. May we give You our best and may we give to You first. Lord, enable us by the working of Your Spirit to be generous with our resources, to be obedient to Your Word, and to be a blessing out of the blessings we have received.

 

Day 19: Respond in Hope

Romans 15:13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”

Devotional · · · We worship the God of hope, allowing Him to restore and refill us with His joy and peace, by the power of the Holy Spirit. As we worship, we are reminded of who God is and what He has done, which gives us tremendous hope for today and for tomorrow. In the Psalms, we see this as David implores his soul, “Yes, my soul, find rest in God; my hope comes from Him. Truly He is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will not be shaken.” (Psalm 62:5-6) And Hebrews 10:23 encourages “let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful.” In the end, our hope is in Jesus Christ because of His great faithfulness. He is our Living Hope! As believers, we can respond to trials in true hope that God is with us no matter what we face. We praise our Heavenly Father for His great mercy, for His gift of new life, and for His choosing us to be part of His chosen people. We look forward that we too will rise like Christ to a glorious inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. (1 Peter 1:3-9) Finally, we respond with reverence for Christ in our heart—always ready to share the hope we have to others who ask. (1 Peter 3:15)

Prayer · · · Father God, we thank you for the great hope we have in Jesus. Continue to make us mindful of who You are and all You have done. May we allow ourselves to open our hearts to Your holy restoration and refilling of our souls with Your Spirit. May we respond through every season of life and every trial we face with a confident hope in You and You alone. Give us endurance to run the race well and give us courage to share our hope with others we encounter along the way. Help us to live each day recognizing the position and identity we have as believers in Christ, He is our hope of glory.

  

Day 18: Respond In Dependence

Psalm 73:25-26 “Whom have I in heaven but you? And earth has nothing I desire besides You. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever.”

Devotional · · · Jesus assures us as His followers, “I have told you all this so that you may have peace in Me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) Faithfully following after Jesus, dealing the sinful desires of our flesh or facing the struggles of life, is impossible on our own strength. So, we rely on His promise to carry the heavy burdens we face and accept His offer of rest for our souls (Matthew 11:28-30). We trust in God’s ability to meet our every need (Philippians 4:19). And we remain rooted in Christ as the true source of a vibrant and fruitful life (John 15:1-11). Let us join King David’s song of thanks and declare this over our lives, our families, and our church, “Let the hearts of those who seek the Lord rejoice! Seek the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually!” (1 Chronicles 16:10-11)

Prayer · · · Faithful God, may we adhere to the prayer of James and count it all joy when we face spiritual trials and battles. For we know we are being strengthened and grown as our faith is tested. Rather than turning to this world for comfort and fulfillment, may we instead depend on You as our comfort and our fortress. May we look to You alone as our sustenance, our strength in times of need, and our joy in times of sorrow. Help us Lord to trust in You fully, to abide in You daily, and to seek You continually.

 

Day 17: Respond In Awe

Hebrews 12:28-29 “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Devotional · · · The Bible tells us that our worship must first and foremost be acceptable to God, not what is acceptable or pleasing to us. What should be the real objective of our worship? Doesn't it have to do with the God whom we worship? Worship is a response of reverence at the revelation of God, acknowledging His worth and realigning us to His reality. And, we worship a truly awesome God. The author of Hebrews is referring here to God as “a consuming fire” from Deuteronomy 4:24 and 9:3, revealing His jealousy and warning against idolatry but also pointing to His power in clearing the way for the Israelites to enter the Promised Land. God’s holiness burns up anything that is unholy. Isaiah 33:14 declares how sinners shake with fear and asks, “Who among us can live with the consuming fire? Who among us can live with continual burning?” The answer is none of us, if we don’t have Christ. We are only able to come before a holy God because Jesus made a way by dying for our sins and making us citizens of His kingdom! So, we respond with thankfulness, with reverence and with awe.

Prayer · · · Almighty God, may we worship you with a holy reverence and may it be pleasing and acceptable in Your sight. We desire to give you our best and to bring joy to Your heart rather than our own. We reject anything that would take a higher place in our life than You. We are so thankful for the good news of forgiveness found in Jesus and the access we now have, because of His sacrificial death on the cross, to come with confidence before Your throne as members of Your kingdom. We pray Paul’s prayer of Ephesians 1:8 for spiritual wisdom that the eyes of our hearts would be enlightened to see the confident hope we have through You, the glorious inheritance we have as Your people, and that it would increase our worship for You all the more.

 

Day 16: Respond In Obedience

Romans 12:1-2 “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.”

Devotional · · · Worship is a response of reverence at the revelation of God, acknowledging His worth and realigning us to His reality. In the first half of Romans, Paul reveals just how great God’s mercy toward us is, ending with a beautiful doxology of praise in Romans 11:33-36. It is in view of that amazing mercy that Paul then urges us to respond with true and proper worship— which is no longer about giving an animal sacrifice to pay for our sins, but about giving our whole lives in response to Jesus paying the ultimate price once and for all. So, live in awe-filled and reverent response to the reality of God today. Allow yourself to be transformed by the God-breathed, life-giving truth of Holy Scripture (2 Timothy 3:14-17) and the mind-renewing, life-freeing work of the Holy Spirit (John 14:1-31; Romans 8). Then you will be able to walk in obedience, realigning the pattern of your life to His perfect will.

Prayer · · · Holy and Merciful God, I long to give You reverence because You are most worthy to receive it. Help me to value You above all else because You are my greatest treasure. Help me to bring true and proper worship, giving all I am to You. Help me to live sacrificially, allowing Your Spirit to put any selfish or worldly ways in me to death. May I know more and more of the depths of Your mercy and the goodness of Your will. Continually be renewing my mind Lord, so that I can respond in obedience to Your realigning presence and power in my life. May all that I do point others to You as You transform me from the inside out. This is my spiritual service of worship, showing to the world the great worth and great glory of Christ by the way I live.

 

Day 15: Respond In Humility

1 Peter 5:5 - All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another, because, “God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.”

Devotional · · · What is humility? Some define it as self-degradation, thinking poorly about yourself. Yet the simple meaning of humility in the Bible is a lowliness of mind. It means to not think of yourself as more important than others, especially God. We respond with a humble reverence at the revelation of God, acknowledging His worth and realigning our lives to His reality. We also live then as God’s people, called to walk humbly with one another as well as with our God (Micah 6:8). We are to imitate Christ’s humility, doing nothing from selfish ambition or empty conceit. We don’t think of ourselves as better than others, but look out for the interests of others. (Philippians 2:3-4). Clothed in humility, you are free from pride and arrogance. You are able to ask for forgiveness, be a peacemaker and love others well in Jesus’ name.

Prayer · · · Father in Heaven, we acknowledge that it is in our nature to put ourselves before those around us, and even before You. We know that without Your Holy Spirit’s working and leading in our lives, we are unable to lead the life of humility that You command of us. So, Lord we ask that You would transform our heart and thoughts from the inside out. Help us to have the mind of Christ. May we see people as You see them and may we adopt Your selfless love for our brothers and sisters.

 

Day 14: Realign From Our Ways To God’s Ways

Isaiah 29:13-14 “These people come near to Me with their mouth and honor Me with their lips, but their hearts are far from Me. Their worship of Me is based on merely human rules they have been taught. Therefore once more I will astound these people with wonder upon wonder.”

Devotional · · · We often judge a method of worship by how we felt about it. Did it stir our hearts? Do we feel better after engaging in it? Was it to our liking? Did people do it in a way that I deem acceptable? Do we feel accomplished after engaging in it? This trap of preference performance turns us away from true worship. It is God and God alone who has the authority to judge whether or not worship was acceptable or not. The reality is that this judgement has little to do with our method and much more to do with what is being spoken from our hearts. Only God can recognize if hearts were realigned to Him through a particular act of worship. There is no fooling God in worship—either it is pure and motivated by Him and to Him, or it is not. Consider taking time today, before lifting up this prayer, to meditate on Psalm 51 and Psalm 139.

Prayer · · · Merciful God, Search me and know my heart. Test me and know my anxious thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends you, and lead me in Your everlasting way. Help me Lord to recognize any areas where I’ve been worshiping according to my own way with my heart disconnected from the words I sing. Enable me to worship You in spirit and in truth, in line with Your will and Your way. Be gracious to me, according to your unfailing love. Create in me a pure heart and renew a right spirit within me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and I will declare Your praise! Lord, You are faithful and just. Thank you for the ever-present forgiveness found in Christ. Help me to worship You, My Lord and My God, with my whole heart.

 

Day 13: Realign From Me To Us

Matthew 6:9-13 “Our Father who is 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 do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

Devotional · · · When we are saved by Jesus, we are saved into a family with God as our Father. But, isolation is a persistent temptation. The enemy wants nothing more than to convince us to live out the Christian life by ourselves. God’s institution of corporate worship fights back against this. When we come together in unity as a church we take on the corporate identity of the Body of Christ—all using our gifts for the benefit of each other, all striving toward maturity in Christ. (Romans 12:4-5; Ephesians 4:4-6) When we gather as a church to worship we proclaim the reality of God over “us” not just “me.” In this proclamation and worship we not only remind ourselves of truth but also support our brothers and sister in the family of God, building one another up in love. (Ephesians 4:15-16)

Prayer · · · Heavenly Father, change my heart. I often pursue my walk with You apart from others even though You have provided Your church, along with gifts for each member, as a source of love and encouragement. Help me to learn more of what it means to be saved by Jesus, not only as an individual but as a member of Your church, a part of Your family, a citizen of Your kingdom. Allow my worship to be something that affects the community I am a part of. As I turn towards You in obedience and love may others be encouraged and spurred on to do the same. May your love and grace abound throughout our church as we all respond in reverence to the revelation of who You are and all You have done, acknowledging Your worth and realigning our lives to Your reality.

 

Day 12: Realign From Giving Worth To Recognizing Worth

Revelation 4:8 “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty,' who was, and is, and is to come.”

Devotional · · · God is not insecure. The Father, the Son and the Spirit are over all and through all and in all (Ephesians 4:4-6). The great I AM (Exodus 3:14) is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) He does not need to hear songs about Himself in order to get through the day. He does not need to have sacrifices made to Him in order to have value. Nothing that we do can give or take away value from God. In true worship, we are recognizing and responding to the immense, generous, neverending, overwhelming value and perfection and holiness that God eternally possesses. In this interaction, we allow the Holy Spirit to change us more and more into the image of Christ as we know more and more of the worthiness of God. The Spirit leads us to respond to that worthiness and structure our lives accordingly, aligned to God’s will and God’s ways. (Romans 12:1-2)

Prayer · · · Holy God, I acknowledge Your perfect holiness. I recognize that Your being is completely independent of me and what I do. But Lord I also praise You for what that recognition does. Thank you that through worship I am able to both learn more of who You are and allow my life to be changed. God I ask that You would transform me through worship. Please show me how to build my life in a way that reflects the reality of who You are. Give me eyes to see your incredible nature and allow me to live in response to that.

 

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