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Day Twenty-One

P24 Climb

January 26, 2020

DAY 21 - Psalm 24:3-5 - P24 Climb Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place?  He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation. The Psalmist here asks us two very key questions in verse 3. Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place? Then he answers the question for us in verse 4, He says “It is he who…" - Has clean hands - A pure heart - Does not lift up His soul to what is false - Does not swear deceitfully These four steps are how we ascend the hill of the Lord (i.e. Journey with Jesus. I call this the P24 Climb. You have all heard of the P90X exercise program, right? You cannot just pop in the P90X into the tv and then sit back on the couch with a bag of potato chips and watch, and think you are going to get physically fit. NO WAY!! You have to participate in the program!! Let’s briefly look at the P24 Climb. #1 Clean Hands To have clean hands means that we live our lives free from blatant sin. As Christians, or Christ Followers - Children of God, or Believers… Whatever you want to call yourself, we must choose to not sin! #2 A Pure Heart Matthew 5:8 says, ““Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. The Greek word for “pure” in Matthew 5:8 is  katharos… It means to be “clean, blameless, unstained from guilt.” Interestingly… the word can refer specifically to that which is purified by fire or by pruning.  The Greek word for “heart” in Matthew 5:8 is kardeeah. This can be applied to the physical heart, but it also refers to the spiritual center of life. This is the place where our thoughts, desires, sense of purpose, will, understanding, and character reside. So to be pure in heart means to be blameless in who we actually are. #3 Does not lift up His soul to what is false Proverbs 4:23-26 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. Keep your mouth free of perversity; keep corrupt talk far from your lips. Let your eyes look straight ahead; fix your gaze directly before you.  Give careful thought to the paths for your feet and be steadfast in all your ways.” Just as there are many diseases and disorders that can affect the physical heart, there are also many ailments of the spiritual heart. These ailments can impair growth and development as a believer. A hardening of the spiritual heart occurs when we are presented with God’s truth, and we refuse to acknowledge or accept it. #4 Does not swear deceitfully This is a person who lives by honesty. They are truthful and trustworthy. They keep their promises, obligations, commitments, contracts, and covenants. Matthew 5:37 says, "All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” Throughout this coming year, it is my desire that we as a body will walk in the Spirit every day and choose not to sin. To be blameless with open hearts to the truths of His Word, Journeying with integrity WITH HIM. This is the conclusion of our SURGE 21 2020 fasting program. Please join together on Wednesday evening the 29th for a time of worship and prayer to solidify in our hearts the small sacrifices that have been made to consecrate ourselves to make this P24 Climb together for the praise and honor of our Lord God Almighty that we may be a blessing and receive His blessings. Pastor Moen Psalm 24:5 says,  “He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.” SURGE twenty-one devotionals are prayerful contributions from the pastors, ministry leaders, and volunteers of Liberty Church. We offer a special Thank You for your contributions.

Day Twenty

Being Community...In Prayer... • January 25, 2020

DAY 20 - Isaiah 5:6; Acts 2:42; 4:31- Being Community...In Prayer... In Isaiah 56:7 we learn “these I will bring to my holy mountain and give them joy in my house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and sacrifices will be accepted on my altar; for my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations.”   In my initial reading of this verse, I wondered who Isaiah is talking about when he refers to “these”? I felt drawn to be with them on the holy mountain.  Mentioned earlier in the passage, Isaiah is referring to all of those that “do what is good and right”, and those that “honor my Sabbath… and keep themselves from doing wrong”.  Isaiah is telling us to draw close to God, go deeper in relationship with Him.  Our relationship with God grows through time in prayer with him.   All who devote themselves (offerings and sacrifices) to Jesus will be accepted in His house. It does not matter where you are in your Christian walk or where you are from (all nations) when we go deeper in our relationship with Jesus we experience the joy he gives us in his “house of prayer”.   In these last 20 days, we have drawn closer to God through our fasting and prayer.  By doing this together as a church body, we witness to the world. We see this realized in the New Testament when told about early church development in Acts 2:42: “They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” As we devote ourselves to Jesus through spending time in the Word, time in prayer, and time in fellowship with other believers we feel fulfilled.  Nothing can fill us as completely as this.   Yes, we need Jesus, but we also need each other, for God reaches us through people.  He uses our prayer for others and our fellowship time together to build one another up and to build a community of faith. We learn about the amazing impact the early church had in Acts 4:31: “After they prayed, the place where they were meeting was shaken. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke the word of God boldly.”  When striving toward greater intimacy with God through obedience and prayer, and growing in community of faith that builds one another up, we are filled by the Holy Spirit.   When the Spirit governs our lives, we witness boldly and journey with Jesus toward the holy mountain.  Then our community of faith “shakes the ground” and we become one of “these” that Isaiah spoke of. Let us come together to pray! Our prayers may be awkward. Out attempts may be feeble. But since the power of prayer is in the one who HEARS them and not on the one who says them, our prayers DO make a difference. Max Lucado

Day Nineteen

A Couple’s Journey to Wholeness • January 24, 2020

DAY 19 - Psalm 37:3-6 - A Couple’s Journey to Wholeness Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.  Take delight in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him and he will do this:  He will make your righteous reward shine like the dawn, your vindication like the noonday sun. Maybe you’re in a situation where you feel like you just can’t take it anymore; maybe it’s your marriage, or a wayward child, the loss of a loved one, or your job.  Do you find yourself saying? “I just can’t do it anymore!” “I’m done!”  You may wonder why God isn’t answering your cries for help.   Please know that our Heavenly Father sees your pain and knows the desires of your heart.   As a wife, I had prayed for 26 years when I decided that I had enough and left.  I had always wanted to be obedient and not get divorced, knowing how much God hated divorce, but strangely, I had an unexplainable peace about my decision. I had no idea what Jesus was about to do.  I surrendered and trusted. As a husband, I watched my wife was busy praying for our marriage, I was also seeking a relationship with God, but on MY terms. I had asked Him into my heart and knew, according to the Bible, that I was saved and would have eternal life but I had never looked deep enough into my own brokenness to allow God to deliver and heal me.   My relationship with God was kind of like my relationship with my doctor.  We can try to fool our doctor by telling them everything feels great but when they look inside of us and examine our blood chemistry they can see what’s really going on.  Until we totally surrender and allow His light to shine on the inside of hearts we never really know where the ailments are.     Today as a couple walking this journey with Jesus we encourage you to allow Him, the greatest physician ever, to show you the brokenness that causes so much sickness and trouble in our lives and in this fallen world. Trust, surrender and commit.  This can only be done by the power of the Holy Spirit. We are so blessed our marriage is now a three-stranded cord. Jesus thank you for your constant love, for knowing the desires of our heart. And for always being there. Our trust is in the LORD because He is working everything out.

Day Eighteen

Believing Through The Darkness • January 23, 2020

DAY 18 - Acts 16:25-26 - Believing Through The Darkness “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the jail were shaken, and immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s chains came loose." Darkness is the absence of light. Isn't it amazing that "in the beginning " ELOHIM began addressing the darkness? “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness covered the surface of the watery depths, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the surface of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.” The Holy Spirit does exactly what He does best. Illuminates - and there is light. I’m of the belief that many Christians today don’t really believe God IS IN the darkness with us as we navigate this Journey with Him. The Word tells us differently in numerous verses. Too many to quote. I share one of my favorites. “...so that all may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is no one but Me. I am Yahweh, and there is no other. I form light and create darkness, I make success and create disaster; I, Yahweh, do all these things.” Isaiah 45:6-7 He isn’t only IN the darkness with us, He created it for His good purpose. Read the narration of Job. Sometimes we are so quick to give the devil glory for what God has planned to use for His purpose. Paul and Silas were sitting in deep darkness this particular night. We are blessed to know the narrative as a whole we see this was God’s divine plan to further the Kingdom. It is stated in Acts 9:15-16 - Regarding Paul - “Go! For this man (Paul) is My chosen instrument to take My name to Gentiles, kings, and the Israelites. I will show him how much he must suffer for My name! ” Paul and Silas stripped, beaten with rods, put in chains and thrown into the deepest, darkest part of the prison. God orchestrated! At the midnight hour, Paul and Silas began to pray, worship and praise God. They did not care who heard them or might have ridiculed them. They did not seek to be DELIVERED. In the Midnight Hour they sought the DELIVERER, who was in the darkness with them. As He is in the darkness with each of us in our Midnight Hour. Do you believe it brother...sister...? Just as “in the beginning”, He starts in the darkness, then sheds light and deliverance in the situation. At the Midnight Hour or one moment past is when the new day starts. 12:00 PM then turns to 12:01 AM. A whole new day, a whole new beginning. Imagine an earthquake hit right under the part of the prison where Paul and Silas were held. Coincidence? I think not! God’s divine appointment and plan. Right at the Midnight Hour, everything changed. Everyone’s chains were loosed. The prison doors were opened. A jailer saved as well as his family as stated in verses 29-34. I have experience many midnight hour engagements with the Lord. Intimate encounters with ABBA, emotional healings, breakthroughs in prayer for others, received understanding, wisdom, to name a few. All between 12:01AM and 3:30 AM. And they have all stuck with me. God healed and delivered in those times that I felt the hour was the darkest. What is your Midnight Hour? He may wake you at that time, you may be tossing and turning thinking, I’m going to be so tired tomorrow. I suggest you get up and go to a place to pray, praise and worship seeking the DELIVERER, not the DELIVERANCE. Not only were they seeking the deliverer, their attitude shows they trusted Him. How does one come to trust Him to such depth? Relationship. Paul and Silas had a relationship with Him. The Word tells us to trust Him with our whole heart and not lean on our own understanding...Proverbs 3:5. We can’t trust what or who we don’t know. Journeying with Jesus is experiencing Him every day so when the Midnight hour hits...like Paul and Silas...we trust! Faith comes one step at a time, decide to trust God each day for one little thing. Before you know it you will see how trustworthy He is, you will then put your whole life in His hands. L. Austin