Day 18

Day-18   August 25th, 2021 – Kai Hollingsworth 

Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.”

In this passage Jesus is saying that if you’re looking for virtue, you will be content if you find it with Him, and only Him. Anything else won’t be satisfactory, no matter what it is.  It’s a tough pill to swallow, hard to admit that you’re not content with life. We go around thinking that we are fine, hiding our true desires.

Often times it’s hard to come to God for satisfaction, I find myself going outside of Him for answers and fulfillments. Whether it be advice from friends, goofing off on my phone, or other worldly things. None of which are inherently bad, to a point (the phone mostly).  Sometimes you’re not content with what you have. Even though there’s a lot to be grateful for, it feels as though it isn’t enough. It’s not like you want more but what you currently have isn’t fulfilling you. 

So, to be content you might want to take a step back and ask yourself, why am I not content? If you can’t find the answer, then you’re probably coming at it from the wrong angle. Your “hunger” shouldn’t make you focus on what you don’t have; instead, it should drive you to want to become closer to God. To have that fulfillment in your relationship with Him, because He is all that is righteous and whole.  What else could satisfy you? 

Everyone’s journey to find contentment will be different, it might take a while to get to that point, and it’s not an easy path. God won’t judge you for taking time.  Remember you’re not the only one who is trying to get there. The righteous satisfaction will be between you and God alone and once you find that contentment, it will feel wonderful. So don’t be afraid of straying away, God will always guide you back to him.

God thank you for giving me the realization that I needed, I pray that you continue to fill my life, and that I may be content in everything you do. Thank you for your guidance and grace, amen. 

Day 17

Day 17  August 24, 2021 – Lisa McClure 

Ecclesiastes 3:11-13

He has made everything beautiful in its time.  Also, He has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end.  I perceived that there is nothing better for them than to be joyful and to do good as long as they live; also, that everyone should eat and drink and take pleasure in all his toil – this is God’s gift to man.

(NIV)  He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.  I know that there is nothing better for people than to be happy and to do good while they live.  That each of them may eat and drink and find satisfaction in all their toil – this is the gift of God.

I believe God delights in taking His time with us and isn’t that encouraging!  So much is done today in a rush and taking one’s time is a gift. We are given time to become, to be molded by our beautiful God, the Potter molding the clay. It makes me realize how much time I don’t give to God or Jesus. Yet, in His Grace, He gives me time to learn and know this:  He is willing to give me as much time as is needed to grow. He allows time as He forms flowers in the spring, as oak trees grow from acorns, as seeds grow into something solid and strong.

The earth is content to let Him create it’s beauty. And if you make it a point each day to notice it, you’ll sense that He has in fact set eternity in our hearts. Why else are you drawn back to that mountain stream or that ocean roar, or that river wild??  It’s something I find hard to describe, and there is a reason I want to return to those places of God’s creative and wild beauty… because it is eternity beckoning. We see the promise of renewal and the promise of finding Him in our everyday work-a-day lives.  He always has gifts to give!

For instance, something that only He knows makes you laugh and it will often catch you off guard. It may be a rough day you’re having but someone or something catches your heart and makes you stop and laugh. Guess what…its Jesus knowing what you need!

So, when we draw near to our God, let’s ask for those good gifts and that good contentment that comes from only Him. He knows what our hearts need and He will always give us His best. We can surely trust that.  He has made everything beautiful in its time and that especially means you!

Father, You are amazing and good beyond words. Help us express our contentment and joy in You in ways that touch others’ lives.  Jesus, how can we thank You for a love that would die for us, that would make it possible to be in the presence of a Holy God. We can love the way You loved. We can take our time and simply drink in the gifts you give each day, and we can share! We can realize this life doesn’t have to be perfect or polished and as a result, live in a contentment born of a heart grateful to You. Thank You for teaching us these things.

Jesus, it is in Your beautiful and powerful name we pray,

Amen.  

Day 16

Day 16 – August 23, 2021 – Erin Thompson

Psalm 18:1-3 

I love you, O Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. I call upon the Lord, who is worthy to be praised, and I am saved from my enemies.

Strength: the quality or state of being physically strong, the capacity of an object or substance to withstand great force or pressure.

In life we can start to rely on our “own” strength, and we often forget where that strength comes from. We tend to be reminded of where our real strength comes from when we are facing hardship. This passage talks about how God has equipped us with His strength to be saved from our enemies. What greater way to be at peace than to be reminded that God is our stronghold? If you read further in this passage, you can get a glimpse of the power of God. He moves Heaven and Earth to save His children! Personally, I believed that I could be my own stronghold, that I could do it on my own. I stretched myself thin, I carried the weight of the world on my shoulders, I crumbled. Like David in this passage, I cried out. To be able to feel the strength of God fighting for me was the best sense of peace one could ever experience. I felt whole, I felt new and I felt loved. To experience the protection of God doesn’t take some great show, all you have to do is call out to Him. Whether you do that with tears streaming down your face on your knees in your college dorm room in the midst of one of your many breakdowns, through worship, or just merely asking. It doesn’t matter how you do it. Just do it. If He brings you to the struggles, He will bring you through them. You can save yourself a lot of hardships if you recognize how you are able to face life, not because of anything you can do, but what God has given you the ability to do. In this passage, God tells us He is our fortress, He delivers you, He is our rock, our shield, He is the horn of our salvation, and our stronghold. He promises us these things, not because of how loud we sing in worship, or how often we pray, or our ability quote scripture. We are promised those things because we are children of God, it is our birthright when we confess our sins and are born again through Him. Rest easy that our God has almighty strength.

Prayer:

Dear Lord, I thank you for the contentment that your strength has given me. I pray for those that are still relying on themselves and struggling. I pray that you cover them in your salvation. I lift up my family, our congregation, our community, and our country. I pray that you continue to give us your strength and protection as we continue to face hardships. In your name we pray, Amen.

Day 15

Day 15 – August 22nd, 2021 – Birgitta Kruzan

Luke 6:20-21

And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said: Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh.

After reading this scripture passage, I thought about the Onobasulu people, a small group living off the land in a remote jungle area in Papua New Guinea. I lived with them a while back and many of the people didn’t have money for school or medical care. Malnutrition affected most of the population. In my time with them, I attended many funerals for people who died before they even turned sixty years old. Funerals were accompanied by loud wailing. In fact, babies were not usually given a name for three months after they were born, because so many died before their first year.

Despite all their suffering, I witnessed their trust and reliance on the Lord. I experienced with them a revival in which there was much rejoicing and reconciliation with enemies. Somehow their vegetable gardens fed not only their families but all the guests who came from other areas as well. 

In many societies around the world, wealth, abundance and putting on a good face, will generate power and influence. In this scripture passage, God encourages downtrodden and forgotten people with hope, satisfaction, and joy. Here God illustrates that in His Kingdom the power dynamic is turned upside down. 

Some people believe these verses mean physical needs and sorrows will transfer into spiritual needs, and that one’s awareness of their own weaknesses will help to open up their hearts to receive Jesus. However, I have met rich people with hearts on fire for Jesus and poor people who live in utter spiritual darkness. So, I don’t believe that Jesus is glorifying poverty, hunger or sorrow. But I do think God is saying He has not forgotten people who are experiencing suffering and He alone offers real hope. 

Dear Lord, 

Help us to see ourselves and others with your eyes. 

Help us to hear ourselves and others with your ears. 

Help us to love ourselves and others with your heart. 

Help us to trust and depend on you. 

Help us to help others and guide them to you, Lord and Savior.

Amen.

Day 14

Day 14 – August 21, 2021 – Jason Bolden  

Psalm 34:8-10 

Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Oh, fear the Lord, you his saints, for those who fear him have no lack! The young lions suffer want and hunger; but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing. 

Let’s look at verse 8. It tells us to ‘Taste and see that the Lord is good.’  We should look at what it is telling us to do, taste and see.  Another version says to find out for yourself that the Lord is good. The writer of this psalm is declaring that he has tasted of the Lord, and he is challenging others to do the same thing.  When we are first saved, we have such zeal and enthusiasm, we want to tell everyone about this gift we found!  We want everyone to experience the new found joy we have in Christ? So, we tell others about Christ.  It’s the same thing the psalmist is saying in this passage. He also challenges them to say that those who serve Yahweh will be blessed. Not only will they be blessed, the scriptures declare they will lack no good thing. Matthew 6:28-29 asks us why we are anxious for anything.  It tells us to consider the lilies of the field that grow without any labor. The scripture is telling us as believers, that if we put our trust in the Lord, He is going to watch over us and provide for us. Verse 9 also tells us to fear the Lord. This fear is not about being scared that the Lord is going to strike us down because we did something wrong. Instead, this fear is a reverent attitude towards God that shows our trust and obedience to him. The 10th verse says that the young lion goes hungry and may even suffer from hunger, but the people who serve God will never go hungry. In Psalm 37:25, the psalmist declares, ‘I was young but now I’m old, yet I’ve never seen the righteous forsaken nor his seed begging for bread.’ This scripture is showing us that as believers, if we have a reverence for the Lord, and if we trust in Him, we can be content because our Father in heaven is going to always provide for us. I pray that as you read this scripture, you think of all the times that the Lord has provided for you in the good and bad times, and as you remember, I pray that your response would be, ‘Lord You are good.’

Lord, I thank You because You are good and You have a purpose and a plan for our lives. I pray that during these 21 Days of Prayer, people would experience for themselves how good You are. Lord, help them taste and see that You are good. We trust in Your word that says we would lack nothing.  Thank You for promises, thank You for Your faithfulness. Help us to have a healthy fear of the Lord and a reverence for the things of God. Show us how to be ambassadors for this great gospel. Lord, we just love You and honor You for who You are. Amen. 

Day 13

Day 13 – August 20, 2021 – JP Durham

Psalm 16:7-8 

I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also, my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. 

The mindset of contentment is something that many people struggle with on a day-to-day basis. Being content means that a person does not wish for things that do not line up with what God has planned in that person’s life. To be happy for what we have and not what we don’t. We should understand what it means to be content in God. If we wish to please God, we should look at what He has to say on the matter. 

The Bible has many passages that deal with contentment. For example, the passage Psalm 16: 7-8 says this, “I bless the Lord who gives me counsel; in the night also, my heart instructs me. I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken”. In this verse, the Lord says how we should be at ease with ourselves because God is with us, side by side. This verse tells us that we are not alone, and that we will always have a “right hand” man when we feel unsatisfied or discontent with how we are living our lives. We need to realize that God has a plan for us all, and we should turn to Him for instruction on how He wants us to live. God will tell us what He needs from us, we just have to listen. 

It is important to be content in the Lord, so that these feelings of being discontented won’t turn us away from Him. I know in my own life, it can be really hard to feel like God has a plan for me, and that the things He has set in my life, are to glorify Him. Sometimes it really helps to take a step back and appreciate how good God has been. I’ve always really liked the motto:” things could always be worse”. It helps me realize that God will work things out in the end and to always be content for what you have and not what you don’y have, 

Prayer 

Dear God, I pray that You help me find contentment in my life. Help me to not look at how others are living and envy them, for I know that You have a plan for me, and all I wish is to glorify You. Lord, please help myself and others to find peace in Your word, so that these negative feelings of discontentment do not turn us away from You.  Amen.

Day 12

Day 12 – August 19th, 2021 – Susan Moeller

Psalm 16:9-11 

Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore. 

It’s amazing that this is the word I was given to reflect on because I’ve recently learned these lessons. I encourage you to read all of Psalm 16 and especially verses 1 and 8. At the beginning of Psalm 16, David asks God for protection. In verse 8, David states
that he KNOWS God is always with him and he won’t be shaken. I’ve been a Christian for a long time and though I’ve always believed this, there have been times in my life that, instead of being contented with who I am or my situation, I became complacent, that is, feeling calmly satisfied with my own abilities and situation to the point that it prevents me from trying harder and sometimes even remembering God is my refuge. 

This past year, many of us, while stuck at home, resigned ourselves to a more sedentary life. Day to day, we did less and accomplished less. We became complacent. This passage speaks so loudly to me because this year a cancer diagnosis dramatically changed my life. It showed me that I had been complacent in my relationship with God and urged me to a new place: one of contentment. A bad medical diagnosis forces you into the stages of grieving and I was no different. During this time, God spoke to me urging me to come closer, to stay with Him. He encouraged me to lean in and rely on Him. I learned to find ways to be glad, to search for God even in the tough moments, in the pain. He gave me peace. I learned that God wouldn’t abandon me and that my provision and security did not come from a good diagnosis, but instead came from a God who shows me the path of life. He is the source of gladness and the fullness of joy for me. I came to wonder how anyone could navigate the same journey WITHOUT God at the center. This diagnosis taught me to seek joy in God’s presence, in the midst of trial, to be content that God is my security. Like David, we need to confess that God is always with us and we won’t be shaken. Friends, find joy and rejoice in the security that only God can provide. 

Lord, please show us your provision and fill our hearts with gladness! Help us to find joy and security in knowing that You are always with us. Help us to confess that with you on our side, we will not be shaken. Help us to break free of complacency and find contentment and the fullness of joy in Your presence. When we fall short, Lord, lift us back up and assure us that you won’t abandon us. Only you, Lord, can show us the path of life as we walk with You. Amen. 

Day 11

Day 11 – August 18th, 2021 – Annette Honeycutt

Proverbs 3:5-8: Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and He will make your paths straight.  Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and shun evil.  This will bring health to your body and nourishment to your bones.

Contentment – the state of being satisfied and at ease in one’s situation, body, and mind. 

God’s Word tells us to be content in all our ways. His word simply asks us to trust Him, and we will be provided with all we need. In a world that continually seeks “trophies” to satisfy our secular desires, contentment is often equated with happiness. Feelings of happiness accompany contentment; however, happiness is unknowingly dependent upon earthly circumstances and possessions. We blindly devalue the feeling of contentment by not fully trusting God in all circumstances, for all that we need. Jesus commands us to seek God’s kingdom and righteousness without worry, and He will provide us with our needs, and more! This is the only source for true contentment. 

Hebrews 13:5 tells us to keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have, because God has said, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you”. Money, possessions, and relationships can bring temporary happiness, but putting them before God will lead to discontentment and the insatiable desire for more. Instead, trusting in God will bring us the feelings we desire – which only He can truly provide. 

Trusting God can be difficult when facing seasons of turmoil or dissatisfactions in job or relationship statuses, so we must remember that God always knows what we need and when we need it. John 36:11 says, if they obey and serve Him, they will spend the rest of their days in prosperity and their years in contentment. Therefore, we must make the daily decision to push past earthly desires and difficulties in order to fully trust God and receive all that we need, as He is the only source for our strength, guidance, contentment, and needs for the rest of our days. 

Prayer: 

God, I thank you for blessing me with more than I need or deserve. I pray that you will show us how to live content and wanting for nothing. Help show us a worry-free way; a life of trusting you completely in all circumstances. I pray that you will guide me in sharing my contentment with others, so that I may serve and obey you for the rest of my days. 

Day 10

Day 10 – August 17th, 2021 – Connie Johnson

Proverbs 14:29-30 Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly. A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh, but envy makes the bones rot.

Have you ever gotten mad at someone about something, only to find out later that all was not as it seemed? Maybe there was just a small piece of information that would have made you rethink your emotional response to the situation. Maybe it would have saved a friendship, a job, or a relationship with a family member. A hot head and a quick temper is a sure sign of a fool but a cool head and self-control is a sure sign of a righteous person. God knows we are emotional creatures. I think He gave Solomon this scripture as His perfect reminder that we need to slow our emotions, get all the facts, and pray for God’s wisdom before we make a decision on where we stand. Anger is not always wrong, there is righteous anger but we need to be sure that our anger is justified. In Matthew 5:21-22 Jesus compares unjustified anger to murder. The second verse tells us that we can live in contentment when decisions are made with all the facts and God’s holy guidance. Our hearts can be tranquil and content. Anger and envy both have serious results not only spiritually but also physically. When stress levels rise, so does blood pressure, heart rate, you can’t sleep, you eat poorly – you are essentially ‘rotting your bones’. God is always here to guide us and give us wisdom in all situations, we just have to seek Him and listen when He speaks. 

Father, we pray for Your holy wisdom, for Your hand to guide us daily. Pull us back from unjust anger and envy Lord. Help us to live in peace with the contentment and tranquility that only You can provide. We know that we have fallen short of Your expectations and we have sinned Lord. We ask for Your grace and forgiveness. Please guide us and help us be more like Jesus. In Your holy name we pray, Amen.

Day 9

Day 9 – August 16th, 2021 – Michael Lail

Proverbs 19:23
The fear of the Lord leads to life, and whoever has it, rests satisfied; he will not be visited by harm.

Fear!  In today’s world, every one of us will experience fear at some point.  Fear of rejection, failure, uncertainty, loneliness, change, loss of freedom, being judged, something bad happening, getting hurt or even inadequacy.  We are not immune to it.  It is a natural emotion and a survival mechanism.

Fear the Lord and you will not be visited by evil.  The “fear” in Proverbs is not being scared of the Lord.  We need to start by understanding some key words in Hebrew.

“Fear” means reverence.  Reverence means: with deep respect for someone or something.  Think of it as admiration or an overwhelming sense of God’s worth and glory.  To have reverence for someone is to know them.“Life” means “to live, have life, remain alive, live forever.”“Satisfied” means “to be fulfilled”.

Using these understandings, we can derive: “To have reverence for the Lord brings us alive, living forever, and we can rest in excess and abundance of Jesus Christ; and when bad things do happen, we know all things work together for good for those who love God.”

When we give reverence to our Lord, we are acknowledging God is our Savior and Jesus has washed away our sin.  He has taken the harm from you and wipes the slate clean by your faith in Him.  In return, He clears our mind and conscience and brings us contentment.  We can start our reverence by accepting the words of Jesus that He is “the way, and the truth, and the life” and no one comes to the Father except through Him (John 14:6)

How can you practice reverence daily?
1. Treasure His name. Use His name only to praise Him, proclaim Him as the Savior, and pray to Him.

2. Treat yourself and others respectfully. Treating others as well as we treat ourselves (maybe better).

3. Live holy and blameless lives.  Be the light and set apart, through His Word, against a world that doesn’t live in a Christ-like fashion.

A prayer showing reverence for God:

Lord God, Thank You that You are a Holy God who still makes yourself approachable to those who come to You in the name of Your Son, Jesus.  Remind me daily that You are worthy of all my praise, You are the One whose life I need to imitate, and You are the One who deserves my love, allegiance, and worship. Create in me a heart that reveres You above all so others may see You high and lifted up. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen.