DAY 9: LORD, HELP ME TO WALK IN REPENTANCE – PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER

By 21 DAYS OF PRAYER, FASTING, AND FITNESS

PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER

SCRIPTURE

“In those days John the Baptist came preaching in the wilderness of Judea, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” – Matthew 3:1–2 ESV

DEVOTION

I recently had a moment while driving where my GPS redirected me to make a U-turn and go the opposite direction, I was headed in. I turned around and began traveling toward the right destination. The situation reminded me of what the Bible calls “repentance.”

The calling to repent of one’s sins is one of the core messages of the Christian faith. From John the Baptist’s charge in Matthew 3, to the first sermon Jesus preached in Mark 1:15, to Peter’s Spirit-filled appeal in Acts 3:19, repentance is central to following Jesus. The word “repent” (metanoeō) means to change one’s mind. It’s the picture of a person walking one direction and making the cognitive decision to go the other way. To make a 180 degree turn toward Jesus and His ways. This was the message of John the Baptist as he preached, and this messages still holds true for us today. May we be a people known for turning from sin and mediocracy and turn to a Savior who came to give them life and life to the fullest. (John 10:10)

I want to encourage you today to renew your mind with the words of Christ, and to step toward His direction for your life. This may require sacrifice and it will certainly necessitate faith – but it will be the best thing for you. As sin, the flesh, and the world grapple for the desires of your heart and attention, make the disciplined attempt to turn from those things, fixing your eyes on Jesus and walking in Him. (Hebrews 12:1, Colossians 2:6)

Keep in mind that the action of repentance was never meant to be a one-time thing, rather a lifestyle thing. There’s always something we can be turning away from, and there’s always Someone – who by faith in Jesus – we can turn to. John the Baptist proclaimed: “Bear fruit in keeping with repentance.” (Matthew 3:8) Affirming the idea that repentance is something we must continue in, and by doing so Christ-like fruit will follow.

7 “Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. 8 It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” — Proverbs 3:7-8 ESV

PRAYER

Father, thank You that You always make room for me to come back to You. Even when I fall, You don’t cast me out. Even when I blow it, You invite me still to return. Even when I squander your gifts and the time you’ve given me, You still treat me like the prodigal sons and wait for me to come home.

Today, I want to repent of anything that distracts me from You or causes me to sin against you. I turn from the sins that are present in my life and ask You to help me wage war on those sins and temptations. Thank You Lord, that You have already won the victory and in You I have everything I need. Help me to repent of my sins and walk powerfully in You, Your grace, and Your forgiveness! In Jesus, name, amen!

FITNESS

DAY 8: LORD, HELP ME TO GIVE YOU MY BEST WORSHIP – PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER

By 21 DAYS OF PRAYER, FASTING, AND FITNESS

PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER

SCRIPTURE

“And going into the house, they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.” – Matthew 2:11 ESV

DEVOTION

One thing we can learn from the “wise men” found in Matthew 2, is they brought their best to worship King Jesus. They brought expensive gold – declaring Jesus’ Kingship, the perfume of frankincense – symbolizing Jesus as High Priest, and the anointing oil of myrrh, which often was used for embalming – foretelling what Jesus would one day do to save us. Each one of these gifts of worship had significant meaning and were considered precious valuables in their day and culture. These wise men thought Jesus to be worthy of such worship and adoration and they were right for doing so.

Now, what would it look like for you to give King Jesus your best? Would it be honoring Him at the workplace? Giving it your best for Jesus in your sport? Loving your family in a way that brings glory to the Lord? All of these action items could be the thing you could practically do to bring God your best. Paul writes to the Colossians church stating: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men…” (Colossians 3:23) I want to encourage you to think through all of the stuff you’re going to do today and do it all for His glory!

“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” – 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV

PRAYER

Lord, today I want to give You my best. In whatever I do, whatever I say, whatever I think – I pray it glorifies you. Help me to keep this mindset in front of me. Help me to lock in and make it my priority to honor You with the gifts and abilities You’ve given me. And when I miss the mark, I pray You would convict me, comfort me, and remind to get back up again. Like the wise men from long ago, it’s my desire today to worship You and give You my very best. In Jesus name, amen!

FITNESS

DAY 7: LORD, HELP ME TO WALK WISE – PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER

By 21 DAYS OF PRAYER, FASTING, AND FITNESS

PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER

SCRIPTURE

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem,” – Matthew 2:1 ESV

DEVOTION

If you could be known for anything what would it be? Would it be for having the most money? Fastest car? Biggest house? Most social media following? I’m curious if having the most wisdom crossed your mind? There was once a guy in the Bible named Solomon who was granted one prayer request from the Lord in 1 Kings 3. What do you think he asked for? You guessed it. He called on the Lord for wisdom and understanding. He wanted to have the knowledge to not only know what to do but how to apply it. He wanted discernment from above to walk wisely.

Hundreds of years later we find at least three men in the Bible who carry the reputation as “wise men.” We don’t necessarily know their names or even that much about them. However, we do know their reputation: wise men. They made the decision to use their wisdom, gifts, and insight to sacrificially worship the Lord Jesus and they wiser because of it. Today, you can go to the Lord and ask Him for His wisdom from above and to help you walk wisely. James the brother of Jesus encourages: “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)

“Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. To know is not to be wise. Many men know a great deal, and are all the greater fools for it. There is no fool so great a fool as a knowing fool. But to know how to use knowledge is to have wisdom.” – Charles Spurgeon

PRAYER

Lord, thank you for the promise of James 1:5. I acknowledge today that I do lack wisdom in certain areas of my life.

I need wisdom in my ________.

I also need wisdom with my _______.

Lord, I pray You would give me the knowledge, wisdom, and understanding to make the right decision, at the right time, the right way. Help me to walk wise. Help me to learn from my ups and downs. And I pray others would learn more about Your wisdom through me. In Jesus name, amen!

FITNESS

DAY 6: LORD, HELP ME WITH MY SELF-CONTROL – PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER

By 21 DAYS OF PRAYER, FASTING, AND FITNESS

PASTOR HEIDEN RATNER

SCRIPTURE

“but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.” – Matthew 1:25 ESV

DEVOTION

When an individual repents of their sins and places their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ, there’s an inward transformation that takes place. The Bibles teaches that a person moves from death to life and becomes a “new creation” where “the old has gone and the new has come.” (John 5:24, 2 Corinthians 5:17) The only way this is possible is for the Spirit of God to come down and do the transformative work. One of the beautiful realities of the Christian faith is that we’ve been given a divine helper – the Holy Spirit.

It’s impossible to live the Christian life apart from the power that comes from the Spirit. He helps us, comforts us, reminds us, and gives us fruit that reflects the character and nature of Christ. (Galatians 5:22-23) One of the most underrated fruit of Spirit is the fruit of “self-control.” The reality is you can make war with the flesh and your sinful nature and come out on top. You can win the battle!

We find here in Matthew 1:25, that Joseph demonstrated a commendable lifestyle of self-control with his new wife Mary. We can go to Jesus today and ask Him to help us have that same Christ-like self-control and discipline over our urges, nature, and temptations. You can go to Him today: “…for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.”

22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22–23

PRAYER

Lord, thank You for the gift of self-control. I acknowledge that in my own strength I’m not the strong enough. I’m not wise enough. I’m not self-controlled enough. I need Your help. Help me to walk in the Spirit, and not in my flesh. When I get upset, tempted, and discouraged – I pray I wouldn’t respond in a way that dishonors Your name. Help to have Your self-control.

Holy Spirit calm, lead me, and guide me. In Jesus name, amen!

FITNESS