DAY 21 – DEEPEN MY COMMUNITY

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER

By: Pastor Heiden Ratner

SCRIPTURE:
ECCLESIASTES 4:9–12 ESV
9 “Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. 10 For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up! 11 Again, if two lie together, they keep warm, but how can one keep warm alone? 12 And though a man might prevail against one who is alone, two will withstand him—a threefold cord is not quickly broken.
DEVOTIONAL:

Christianity is a team sport. The lifestyle of a disciple should look less like a 100-yard dash and more like a relay race where the runners are dependent on each other to succeed. Jesus, set it up this way. At the beginning of time, we read the first-ever “not good” moment in history happened when Adam was alone. (Genesis 2:18) In other words – we are created for community. When we are outside of relationship, we are inside of what the Lord calls “not good.” Solomon affirms this idea in Proverbs, writing: “Whoever isolates himself seeks his own desire; he breaks out against all sound judgment.” (Proverbs 18:1 ESV)

As we conclude our 21 days of prayer and fasting today, I want to encourage you to identify (at minimum) two things the Lord has shown you throughout these 21 days and initiate a time with someone to share how the Lord has been speaking to you. It’s during moments like these that we can either stay comfortable, distant, and silent, or we can grow deeper in our faith and community and share. This will require faith, initiation, and boldness, however, isn’t that why we’re here? To go beyond the surface in our walk with Jesus and one another in 2022?

I encourage you not to allow yourself to drift into isolation this year. Go deeper than that. When you feel tempted to retreat from community, begin praying “Lord, deepen my community. Take us beyond fake friendships, surface-able relationships, and selfish isolation. Lord, take us deeper for Your glory, my joy, and the good of others in my life. In Jesus Name, Amen!”

ACTION STEPS:

→ Commit to joining a weekly Charge Group in the upcoming season.

→ Meet up with someone within WALK Church and reflect on what the Lord has shown you over these past 21 days.

PRAYER:

Father, I come before You in Jesus’ name, by the power of the Holy Spirit, asking You to take us deeper in community. Help us be authentic, honest, and real in the community You have placed us in. Remind us to return when we fall. Convict us with the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 4:9, “Two are better than one…” Thank You Lord for the way You model this with the Father, Son, and Spirit. Help us to be more like You, as You live in and through us. Take us deeper, oh God. It’s in Jesus Name we pray, Amen!

DAY 20 – DEEPEN MY PRAISE

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER

By: Wilson Morales

SCRIPTURE:
ACTS 16:25-26 ESV
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose.
DEVOTIONAL:

I love this story. It shows the power of praise, and how it can unlock breakthrough, not only in our lives, but in the lives of the people around us. We see Paul and Silas thrown in jail, beaten, and persecuted for sharing their faith and their love for God. Despite their circumstance, despite being in chains, they were able to fix their eyes on Jesus. They saw their circumstance as an opportunity to praise God! Their faith and love for God far outweighed the chains holding them down. I don’t know if I, personally, could say that I have the same faith to respond the same way they did.

But praise God, that the power of our praise, and effectivity of our prayer, does not depend on us, but the One who we direct our praise and our prayer towards! He is the God of breakthrough! He is the one who can bring freedom in our afflictions, bring restoration in our marriages and relationships, break us free from our “prisons”, and bring salvation to people far from God!

ACTION STEPS:

→ Find ways to see your circumstances as opportunities to praise God!
→ Meditate on Psalm 34:1 CSB: “I will bless the Lord at all times; his praise will always be on my lips.” Find ways to make praise a habit in your life. Ex. praise Him on your drive to/from work, listen and sing to worship music when you’re doing errands.

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, deepen my praise. Help me to see how You’re moving in my life as an opportunity to praise You. Even the trials and tribulations in my life have meaning, and You can use anything to bring You glory! Help me to live a life of praise, knowing that my praise is powerful, not only for me, but even the people around me. Make praise so much a part of my life, that I can’t help but praise, no matter the situation. In Jesus Name, Amen!

DAY 19 – DEEPEN MY WISDOM

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER

By: Pastor Wes Hodges

SCRIPTURE:
PROVERBS 9:10 ESV
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy One is insight.
DEVOTIONAL:

Nobody likes a “wise guy,” but everyone should want wisdom. Wisdom is defined as “the soundness of an action or decision with regard to the application of experience, knowledge, and good judgment.”(Lexico Dictionary) The important distinction between knowledge and wisdom is that knowing things is just the first part in being able to live a life honoring God. Wisdom is taking that knowledge and making decisions that are righteous, obedient, and faithful to God’s Word. To first be wise, we need to know Christ – for He is wisdom personified. (1 Cor. 1:30) We need to hunger for His Word. Read and meditate on His Word. Be filled with His Spirit. It is then we can be wise by using what we have learned to apply in our actions.

In 1 Kings 3, Solomon speaks to God saying: “Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”” (1 Kings 3:9 ESV) What an excellent request. Solomon cares for the people of God and wants to do his best by leading in ways that honor God. The Lord responds saying: “behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.” (1 Kings 3:12 ESV)

Have you asked God to give you wisdom? Have you sought out other godly friends to ask for wisdom? In the book of James 1:5, it says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5 ESV)

ACTION STEPS:

→ Read the “Proverb of the day.” Today is the 19th, so read Proverbs 19 and develop a pattern of growing in wisdom through daily reading the Proverbs.

→ Carve out time today to pray for wisdom in a specific area, and believe that the Lord will continue to give you wise guidance in your decision making.

PRAYER:

Heavenly Father, we pray that You would give us wisdom in our actions and decisions today. Help us know You more so that we may not sin against You, rather be wise in knowing right from wrong. Please help us to learn from our experiences and use the knowledge we have to live a wise, godly life. Lord take us deeper in wisdom in Jesus Name, Amen!

DAY 18 – DEEPEN MY GENEROSITY

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER

By: Pastor Heiden Ratner

SCRIPTURE:
2 CORINTHIANS 8:1-3 ESV
1 “We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, 2 for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. 3 For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord…
DEVOTIONAL:

A long, long time ago, several churches in the Macedonia Region (modern-day Greece) decided to go deeper in their generosity. They believed in making disciples, and they financially supported one of the greatest missionaries of all time – the Apostle Paul. Their example so impacted Paul that he chose to honor them publicly in his second letter to the church in Corinth. In the above verses there are three things that are noteworthy when it comes to deepening our generosity.

First: They Gave in Affliction. I find it inspiring and convicting that though these churches were experiencing great “affliction” and were facing “extreme poverty,” they didn’t allow their circumstances and lack of resources to keep them from being generous. They had a no-excuses mentality. They continued to be a blessing even when times were tough and we continue to learn from them to this day.

Second: They Gave Joyfully. Generosity is not just about giving but also about the attitude behind our giving. Solomon writes in Proverbs 16:2: “All the ways of a person are clean in his own sight, But the LORD examines the motives.” (Proverbs 16:2 NASB) Paul lets us know that it was not a selfish motive that drove the Macedonians, nor was it an agenda-driven motive; instead, it was a joyful motive inspiring their generosity.

Third: They Gave Beyond their Means. These churches could have made any excuse in the world not to be generous or to give sparingly at this time; however, that was not their pursuit. They decided to give beyond their means and support the church planting efforts of Paul in a big way. They had a Kingdom mentality that resulted in a more profound display of generosity. They chose not to stay on the surface with their giving but to deeper. May we learn from the joyful example of the Macedonians and begin to apply these elements to our own lives.

ACTION STEPS:

→ Pray about new and fresh ways you can be more generous this year. Ask the Lord to give you increased boldness, trust, and faith.

→ If you don’t tithe regularly, consider starting now.

→ Watch the sermon “Green Christmas” by Pastor Heiden Ratner on WALK Church’s YouTube Channel.

PRAYER:

Father, I pray in the name of Jesus Christ for each and every person reading this devotional. Lord, I pray that we would go deeper in our generosity this year and trust You to provide everything we need. Lord, increase our joy this year as we trust You in this precious area of our lives. I pray we would keep an eternal mindset as we give and that You would use us to make a difference in this world through our giving. In Jesus Name, Amen!

DAY 17 – DEEPEN MY FORGIVENESS

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER

By: Shane Gettle

SCRIPTURE:
EPHESIANS 4:32 ESV
“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
DEVOTIONAL:

In Paul’s letter to the Ephesian Church, he instructs the believers to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgive like Christ. What a challenge! As I read this verse and reflect on this past year, I can’t help but ask myself, “Have I been as kind as I could’ve been to those I’ve interacted with?” and “Have I given those around me enough grace or compassion?” I recently read a devotional that said: “We often judge others by their actions, but we judge ourselves by our intentions.” What if we made a better effort this year to judge others by the same standards that we hold ourselves to and decided to give people the “benefit of the doubt”? Solomon writes in the book of Proverbs: “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” (Proverbs 19:11 ESV)

Too often, we hold on to past hurts and grudges and allow them to weigh us down. I’ve often heard the example that not forgiving someone is like holding a hot potato and expecting the other person to get burned. Let’s make this the year that we finally let go of the “hot potato” and choose to pick up God’s grace in our own lives so we can accept the bigger plan He has for us. How much happier would we be if we extended the forgiveness to those in our lives that Jesus has extended to us?

We all have at least one person in our lives that we have not spoken to in a while or potentially somebody we’ve yet to reconcile with or forgive. Make this the opportunity to practice Ephesians 4:32 and forgive the way Jesus does. This could be your moment to go deeper in forgiveness and see a past relationship healed. If Jesus can die on a cross and forgive our sins, how much more should we forgive those in our own lives who have sinned against us? Let’s go deeper!

ACTION STEPS:

→ Examine your life and identify someone who you may still hold resentment against and make the intentional decision to forgive them. Not just with your mouth but in your heart.

→ Reach out to someone you may have hurt in the past and offer an apology. A friend once told me, “All you can do is keep your side of the street clean. You are only responsible for your actions, not someone else’s reaction”.

PRAYER:

Lord, I thank You for the grace that You have provided to me through my faith in Christ. I thank You for the forgiveness You have lavished upon us and I pray that we would extend that same forgiveness to those in our lives. Help us to identify any relationship that needs healing and give me the strength to take a step toward that direction. Lord, help me to be kind, tenderhearted, and forgiving to those in my life. I pray this in Jesus Name. Amen!

DAY 16 – DEEPEN MY THIRST

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER

By: Vashawn Nash

SCRIPTURE:
PSALM 63:1 ESV
“O God, you are my God; earnestly I seek you; my soul thirsts for you; my flesh faints for you, as in a dry and weary land where there is no water.
DEVOTIONAL:

I live in a desert. And although my city isn’t the hottest in the world, Las Vegas is located near what’s considered the hottest location in the entire Western Hemisphere: California’s Death Valley. With an average temperature of 110 degrees during summertime, residents know that “dry and weary” is the norm. So, to survive here, Las Vegans need an abundant supply of dry and weary’s arch-enemy: water.

The truth is that the spiritual climate of this world is similar to Death Valley. Dry and Weary. We are in the midst of a drought that only offers things of the like, and in it, we’ve become frenzied consumers of the products that only mask our soul’s dehydration. In this Death Valley, the only One dispensing what we truly need is Jesus. He alone can quench the thirst of our needy souls and provide the spiritual nourishment we struggle to live without.

In John 4:13-14, Jesus ministered these words to the thirsty women at the well: “Everyone who drinks of this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him will never be thirsty again. The water that I will give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” Jesus not only has the endless flow of water that our souls need, but He desires to give it to us as well. So today, thank Him for being the thirst-quenching savior that He is and ask Him to take you deeper in your thirst for Him this year.

ACTION STEP:

→ Over the next five days, be intentional about responding correctly to the thirst of your soul. When you want to be filled, choose to seek Jesus through prayer, reading His Word, listening to worship music, etc. Bring your thirsts to Him.

PRAYER:

Lord, deepen my thirst for You. I pray that when I need to be filled up, I will run to You instead of other things like TV shows, games, or other entertainment. I pray that I wouldn’t dull my sense of neediness for You by being consumed with the failing supplements this world has to offer. You have all that I need: love, joy, affirmation, peace, and strength are all found in You and Your gospel. Remind me moment by moment that You are the only One who can satisfy my needs. In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

DAY 15 – DEEPEN MY COMPASSION

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER

By: Pastor Heiden Ratner

SCRIPTURE:
MATTHEW 9:36 ESV
“When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”
DEVOTIONAL:

Take a moment to imagine this setting. Crowds on every side, sick people crouching in, afflicted people desiring to be healed, religious people snarling, and the disciples overwhelmed and confused. Meanwhile, Jesus stands at the center gazing upon the multi-dysfunctional audience, feeling something deep within Him. What was He feeling, you might ask? One word: Compassion. As Jesus looked upon the crowds that day, He couldn’t help but feel a sense of compassion toward them. And this type of compassion – this Jesus compassion – is likely different from your definition of the word. The Greek word used here is Splanchnizomai. I know you want to say it out loud. So go ahead and give it a try. “Splanch – niz – omai”. This word, by definition, means to be moved in one’s bowels. It’s the picture of being so broken over a particular situation that it moves you down to your guts. This was what Jesus felt as He “saw the crowds… harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.”

If I’m being completely honest, I don’t know for certain that I’ve ever felt that level of compassion toward a specific individual or situation. But, hey, that’s why I want to go deeper this year. I don’t want to maintain surface-level compassion that leaves me feeling emotionless and inactive. I want my life, feelings, and emotions to be conformed to the person of Christ, producing a deeper sense of compassion in and through me.

Not much has changed in today’s context from what Jesus saw two thousand years ago – people are still harassed, helpless, and lost. I’m praying that this year the Lord would give me eyes to see people the way He does, and that my seeing would lead to feeling, and that my feeling would lead to doing. Lord, take us deeper into Christ-like compassion.

ACTION STEPS:

→ Meditate on the song: “Give Me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath

→ Consider serving this month at a Homeless Outreach

→ Reach out to someone who is sick and check on them.

  • If you only know people who have recovered from being sick, reach out to one of them and check on how their recovery is going.
PRAYER:

Father, I come before You today in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. I’m asking for myself and the person reading this to experience a deeper sense of compassion. Lord, help us this year to feel “Splanchnizomai” compassion. Give us Your eyes to see what You see, and empower our hands and feet to do whatever You call us to do. Jesus, we ask You to deepen our heart for lost and broken people. Take us deeper in compassion. In Jesus name, Amen!