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21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER – 2021

DAY 21 – DEEPEN MY LOVE

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER - 2021

By: Heiden Ratner

“37 “And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” - Matthew 22:37–40”

Once upon a time there was a group of Pharisees (the religious elite of that day) who conspired against Jesus to “test” Him. They identified a lawyer on their team and sent him out of the bullpen to try and catch Jesus up in His words. This Pharisaic lawyer then mustered up enough boldness to ask Jesus: “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36) At this point, I can imagine the other Pharisees giving each other fist pounds and discreet high-fives, thinking they finally stumped King Jesus. However, what happens next is powerful and still holds implications for us today.

Jesus looked at the lawyer and calmly replied: 37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. [39] And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [40] On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (Matthew 22:37-38) I know, deep, right? Jesus decided to sum up all 613 Old Testament laws with one word: Love. Love for God and love people. Essentially, Jesus was teaching that we need to go deeper in our love.

Think about these phrases: “All your heart, all your soul, all your mind.” Unless you can say with integrity you love like that – you need to go deeper.  Christ went on to add: “And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” As if loving the Lord with everything in us wasn’t enough already, Jesus added the fact that we need to go deeper in our love for our neighbors. When we love the ways that Jesus calls us to love, we provide a powerful display of the love of Christ through us, while also giving evidence to what it means to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus. (John 13:34) Together, let’s go deeper today in our love!

ACTION STEP: Read 1 Corinthians 13:3-8 and wherever you see the word love, replace it with your name. Take time to read the Scriptures out loud with you name inserted. identify areas within the text that would not totally be truthful for your life. Begin writing those items down, praying over them on a consistent basis, and get some accountability to help you grow in the areas listed.

PRAYER: Father, we come before You in Jesus name, by the power of the Holy Spirit, asking that You take us deeper in love. Help us grow in our love for You, O Lord, as well as in our love for our neighbors. I pray we would be defined less by hate and criticism, and more by the way we honor and love people in our church and those outside of it, as well. We need You to produce this love within us. We pray You will continue to take us deeper in love! In Jesus name, amen!

DAY 20 – DEEPEN MY ENDURANCE

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER - 2021

By: Ilsy Bussey

““1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
2 looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” - Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV”

In 2007 I decided to run in a marathon. I had never run in one before, but it was always a dream of mine. Twenty-six point two miles was a lot of miles, and although I was a runner, I had never taken on the task of running for that long. I realized that I would need some intense training – I was going to need to build up some endurance. So, like Forrest Gump, I just started running! My training happened over six months, and the miles increased slowly and steadily. Every week the training got harder and harder, but as race day approached, I felt “ready,” and I was enthusiastic about finally competing in the race. 

I did cross the finish line on race day, but not without some hurdles and hurts along the way. As hard as the training was, I realized that had I not trained so hard, there was no way I could have finished the race. 

When I read Hebrews 12:1-2, I think back to that day: I ran with light clothing, I prepared a hydration pack, and many supporters were on the sidelines cheering us on. Even though it was painful, and I sustained injuries, I still finished the race by God’s grace. 

Where are you at in your journey? Are you in training? I know it’s hard but keep pushing yourself! You can do it! It is preparing you to finish the race. Are you currently in the marathon? I know it is hard but keep going! It is so worth it when you cross the finish line! Don’t get discouraged. Instead, like Jesus, whose focus was on the joy that was set before him, take the eyes of your heart and look to Jesus, the founder and perfector of your faith. He is the prize! He is worth it!  

ACTION STEP: 

  1. Watch “Running – Sermon Jam – John Piper” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKQwxni_3as
  2. Identify some “weight” in your life that you can eliminate to help you run better. 
  3. Read Romans 8:18 and be encouraged!

PRAYER: God, please give me the endurance I need to run this race of the Christian life. I need you to give me the grace I need to show a heart posture that is pleasing to you because sometimes that race is painful. Help me to focus my spiritual eyes on you as I run because you are my prize and my truest joy! You are so worth it!

DAY 19 – DEEPEN MY PEACE

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER - 2021

By: Jacki Ramirez

““Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.” - 2 Thessalonians 3:16, ESV”

If your day is anything like mine, then you are probably suffering from running in the never-ending rat race that we call life. My days start early to get ready for work, I usually stay a little longer at work to avoid falling further behind, then I rush home to make dinner and spend time with my family. Before you know it, I’m two hours past my bed-time and I’m rushing to finish up whatever it is that I’m doing to get some much needed sleep, but it never seems to be enough.

On top of that, I’m constantly being bombarded with messages of strife, uncertainty and hatred. Between the pandemic, economic uncertainty, and political chaos there is very little in this life to bring me peace. It’s no wonder that I along with millions of others suffer from anxiety.

My life seems to demand so much of me, that I can rarely find time for myself, and more importantly find time for the Lord. Most times, I feel like my life is in chaos. So much so that my husband got me license plates which say “Rebolu” which is Cuban for whirlwind. Don’t get me wrong, I’m well versed in time-management techniques and understand the importance of work-life balance. I’ve read the books on meditation and relaxation, but none of them seem to offer me the peace that I desire. I find that the only real time I experience peace is when I turn to Jesus. When I put my faith and my fears on his shoulders and release them. I long for more of those moments. I want to go deeper in peace, and only Jesus can provide that for me. I know that I need to make better choices and be more intentional about carving out time to spend with Jesus and experience more peace in life. I’ve done my best to make that a habit in these 21 days of prayer and fasting, and I have already experienced more peace.

ACTION STEP: What is causing anxiety in your life? Are there areas where you can reallocate your time to take your worries to Jesus? (Maybe during your daily commute, a break at work, while you cook dinner, etc.) I encourage you to spend more time taking your worries to Jesus, and experience the peace that only Jesus can provide.

PRAYER: Lord, we love you and we give you thanks. Your presence Lord provides an incomparable feeling of peace. I pray Lord that you continue to guide my steps and my days so that I seek you more, and release my worries, burdens and fears.  Jesus you are my rock, and my steady hand. My comforter. Help me go deeper in peace. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.  

DAY 18 – DEEPEN MY PATIENCE

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER - 2021

By: Shelby Nash

““The end of something is better than it’s beginning. Patience is better than pride.” Ecclesiastes 7:8”

In today’s day and age sometimes in our lives we have a tendency to move so fast. Since we’re moving fast paced we want everything else to move just as quickly. We want instant coffee, instant success, faster traffic, and high(er) speed internet. It’s understandable because we have goals, errands to run and an endless list on our todo list. But the trouble with this mentality is that some things take more time than we are willing to spend in order to come about.

In Genesis, we are introduced to a man named Abraham who God promised would be the Father of many nations. Not only were Abraham and his wife old, but the two had no children, so who would be the offspring to which Abraham would father? It was an impossible task but Abraham believed God would do what he had promised. Although Abraham and Sara believed God, they became impatient in their waiting. They decided to take matters into their own hands and Sara gave her servant to Abraham so she would bear him children. Although Abraham soon became a father it wasn’t in accordance to God’s will. God had something bigger planned, something more beautiful than what Abraham could cultivate on his own. All that was needed was more patience. 

From the story of Abraham we learn that we can’t throw Gods will in the microwave to be done quicker! Desiring to take things into our own hands instead of waiting on God is impatience- a form of pride in disguise.

Sometimes having patience is difficult, especially when there’s an anticipation for things that are to come. Whether in our relationships with friends or family, or even with God. But we should daily choose to rest in God’s promises knowing that He will do exactly what He said He would…In…His…time.

ACTION STEP: Spend time seeking the Lord to see if there is anything you have been impatient with. Ask Him for forgiveness and for Him to give you a new outlook on whatever it is. Patience is a fruit of the Spirit so continually abide in God’s Word and in prayer so that as you do, your Patience will be developed.

PRAYER: Oh sovereign Lord, thank You even when I am unknowing that  You are all knowing. Thank You that when I am doubtful You are definite. You are the same yesterday, today, and forever. Lord help me to trust You. Help me to be patient in the midst of uncertainty. I pray that I won’t pick back up what I have laid at your feet, but instead empower me by your Spirit to lean into you more, in patience and in trust. In Jesus’ faithful and mighty name I pray, amen!

DAY 17 – DEEPEN MY TIME IN THE WORD

By 21 DAYS OF GOING DEEPER - 2021

By: Jorge Hernandez

““For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12 ESV”

Are you hearing from God?

There are many voices we listen to each day. The one voice we hear most is our voice in our mind. We also hear many other voices throughout the day. You turn on the TV, social media, YouTube, our family, and friends are voicing their opinions. We can find ourselves overwhelmed at times and lose peace by letting in all the different voices of the world speaking to our hearts and minds. 

So the questions I’m asking myself are, “Am I hearing from God today? Is God speaking into my life today? Am I resting in God’s promises today? Is God’s word guiding me today? Is God’s Word “living and active” in my life today?”

To hear most effective from God, we need to deepen our time in God’s word. I believe God wants to be the single voice instructing us on how to think and how to function in this world as His children. HE desires for us to look to Him and hear from Him, so we’re not confused by the voices of this world and the enemy of our souls. The writer of Hebrews describes this relationship with God’s word as, “living and active.” We can have a living and active relationship with the creator of the universe through daily abiding in God’s Word. 

ACTION STEP: Position yourself. Position yourself over a section of scripture today. Position your posture to be ready to hear from God’s word. Position yourself in a time and space where it’s quiet. Position yourself to learn and receive from the very words of God today.

PRAYER: Father in Jesus name by the power of the Holy Spirit I thank You for your word. I thank You that Your very words in Scripture are alive and active ready to speak and transform my life. I thank You for Your truthful conviction in Your word that pierces me and transforms me from the inside out. Father may You activate my desire for me to open Your word and hear from You today. Help me to see Your heart in the scriptures. Help me to rest in Your promises and make me look more like Jesus by being a doer of Your word. In Jesus name, I pray amen.