Monday, May 20
Theme for the week:
Disciples Yield to the Holy Spirit

The next month of devotions focus on living under the direction of the Holy Spirit, yielding to His work and His ways in life. The goal is to be intentional about immersing ourselves in God by submitting to His Spirit. God calls us to live by the Spirit, not the law (rules and regulations). Our primary teacher about God is God himself. Pray that He opens your heart and mind to the insight of His Word.

John 3:1-17

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

• In Christ, I am called by the Holy Spirit, loved in God the Father, and kept for Jesus Christ.

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Pondering Point

Read John 3:1-17. The Holy Spirit is our birth-mother of sorts, having given birth to our spirits in baptism and making us alive in Christ. And like a good parent, He still nurtures and guides us as we grow. How are you doing in listening to this spiritual parent of yours and letting Him guide you?

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Prayer for the Day

Spirit God, thank You for giving birth to my spirit. I pray that You would disciple me, teaching me about life under Jesus, living with Jesus, and becoming a faithful follower of Jesus. In His name I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, May 21
God’s Mission

John 16:12-15

12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. 13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. 14 He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. 15 All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

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Pondering Point

The Spirit of truth will guide you into all the truth. This is one of several teachings about the Holy Spirit which Jesus shares on the night of His arrest. It’s significant to say the least.

The Spirit is our primary Teacher, our primary Discipler, our Guide to carrying out a life in Christ designed for us as we live by faith not sight. Jesus had added in the previous chapter that the Holy Spirit would aid the disciples in their witness to the world. Although God’s mission was (and still is) on the shoulders of his followers, all disciples carry out this mission by the strength, guidance, leadership and direction of the Holy Spirit.

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Prayer

Holy Spirit, guide me and my fellow disciples into all the truth. Encourage and enable us each to submit to that truth, yielding to Your wiser ways for life and light in our world. Thanks for Your strength, guidance, leadership and direction in life. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Wednesday, May 22
Biblical Teachings on Prayer

Acts 12:15

“You’re out of your mind”

Spoken by the people of God praying for the Apostle Peter in Acts 12:15.

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Pondering Point

This teachable moment in prayer is attention-grabbing once you stop and give it a close look. We know that certain people in the bible were quite prayerful. We also know that God performed many extraordinary actions in response to such prayers. But in this instance, once the prayer of the believers has been answered by God with a miraculous escape, even they have a heard time believing it! But this was not a one-off or isolated incident.

This Acts 12 episode has a very similar feel to one in Acts 4, which you will cover in tomorrow’s Prayer for the Week. Each of the recorded events involves prison and prayer. A third one occurs with the Apostle Paul in Acts 16. Read through these chapters (Acts 4, Acts 12, Acts 16) and ask yourself, “Are these not amazing things God does in response to groups praying?” He is still God; are we still praying with the same expectations?

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Prayer

Father God, You have always been a God of power and miracles, especially through Jesus. In His name the disciples performed powerful miracles time and again. You are still that same God today. Rather than shrinking You down to the size of my faith, help me expand my faith to the size of Your power. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.
~ Apostle Peter,
Acts 2:22

Thursday, May 23
Prayerfully Re-Center Around God

Acts 4:23-31

The Believers Pray

23 On their release, Peter and John went back to their own people and reported all that the chief priests and the elders had said to them. 24 When they heard this, they raised their voices together in prayer to God. “Sovereign Lord,” they said, “you made the heavens and the earth and the sea, and everything in them. 25 You spoke by the Holy Spirit through the mouth of your servant, our father David:

“‘Why do the nations rage
and the peoples plot in vain?
26 The kings of the earth rise up
and the rulers band together
against the Lord
and against his anointed one.’

27 Indeed Herod and Pontius Pilate met together with the Gentiles and the people of Israel in this city to conspire against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed. 28 They did what your power and will had decided beforehand should happen. 29 Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness. 30 Stretch out your hand to heal and perform signs and wonders through the name of your holy servant Jesus.”

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.

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Pondering Point

Whatever happened in Acts 4:23-31 and regardless of what was specifically prayed by that group, it was a moving prayer – literally and spiritually. Read through the story in preparation to re-center your life around God again this week. After re-centering, you can pray that God continues to move in such ways in the life of His current church and people.

Review the week

Do you expect God to speak through you? Do you ask God to work wonders through you in the name of Jesus? Do you gather with other believers to pray?

Repent (if necessary)

Based on the review questions above, repent if not getting together to pray with others, if not asking for God to work through you, or if not expecting God to work through you.

Return (as necessary)

Make a decision to center your life around God by considering with whom you could pray, seeking guidance from the Spirit on how to make it happen. Then ask for it in prayer and expect God to answer those prayers.

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Prayer

Father God, you spoke by your Spirit through David, through the disciples Peter and John as well as others. Speak now through the words and actions of me and those I pray with. Enable us to act and speak with boldness in the name of your servant Jesus, in whose name I pray. Amen.

Friday, May 24
Discipleship Point and Prayer

To combine conviction with humility... will require the greatest dependence on the grace of God. Our first mistake is often to be overconfident and to think we can handle this issue on our own. The enemy laughs.

p.130, The Prideful Soul’s Guide to Humility, Fontenot/Jones
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Humility Prayer

Father God, keep me from over-confidence in my own sense and abilities, but instead to be humbly dependent on and confident in You. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Discipleship Point about Regular Time with God in His Word

Being in God’s Word lets the Holy Spirit disciple (teach) us directly. This includes time alone for prayer and reflection to hear from and yield to the Holy Spirit. (SCOPE2).

It also involves time with God and others in His Word like in worship and small group, other great ways to be discipled both directly and indirectly by the Holy Spirit.

S Standing
C Commitment
O Offered to the
P Potter (God)
E Every Day (Early)

Have you carved out time to let God’s Word and Spirit disciple you? At most churches, there are two Sunday worship services and a discipleship hour. There are Small Groups as well, but don’t forget to carve out time just between you and God, even if it is late at night like Nicodemus (tomorrow’s story).

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Discipleship Prayer

Father God, root this act of letting the Holy Spirit disciple me deeply into my heart, my mind, and my schedule. Regular time in Your Word is necessary for the spiritual wellness of myself and others who will encounter You through me. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Saturday, May 25
Scripture's Story for the Week

John 3:1-17

Jesus Teaches Nicodemus

1 Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”

4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

This conversation between Jesus and Nicodemus gives birth to the well-known verse of Scripture seen in sporting arenas and other gatherings, John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

But another section, verses 5-6, captures our attention this week: No one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit gives birth to spirit. Our initial place in the kingdom comes about by the Holy Spirit giving birth to our spirit.

Living in the kingdom – which we are already doing – is also directed by the Holy Spirit. Apostle Paul called it “keeping in step with this Spirit” and said it would keep us on the right path (Galatians 5:25). Of course, The Spirit’s ways of working are hard to pin down (compared to the blowing of the wind), but He is living right inside of us. Follow Him!

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Prayer for the Day

[Pray about whatever God puts upon your heart.]

Sunday, May 26
Call to Gather, Pray and Worship God

God Bless You

Jude 1:1-2

Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ: Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance. 

Along with James mentioned above, Jude is traditionally thought to be a brother of Jesus. Despite an initial skepticism about Jesus as Messiah seen in John 7:5, Jude later found himself called and loved and part of the Christian faith, kept for Jesus. That blessing is what he wanted to extend to others, expressing a desire for abundant mercy and peace to come with it. May this be your blessing!

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Prayer for the Day

[Pray about whatever God has put upon your heart.]

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Dear Lord,

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Amen.

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