Monday, July 8
Theme for the week:
Love the Lord With All Your Mind

Ephesians 3:14-21

14 For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

20 Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, 21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

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Pondering Point

The people of God in Ephesus were on the Apostle Paul’s mind – and it drew him into prayer for them to experience God’s love in powerful ways. WHAT pushes you to kneel before God the Father? Is it desperation, need, friendship, love, compassion, thanksgiving, joy, mercy, trouble, hope or even hopelessness? And then -- WHO drives you to your knees in prayer?

Paul acknowledged as Christians, all of us derive our “name” from God our Father (3:14), like He is the head of our huge family. I got my last name from my biological father – and it identifies me as part of his earthly family. In a similar way, we get our name from our heavenly Father and are identified as His children.

• In Christ, I derive my name from the Father, I celebrate my family in Christ, and I look forward to being strengthened with power through his Spirit.

Tuesday, July 9
God’s Mission

John 5:31-47

Testimonies About Jesus

31 “If I testify about myself, my testimony is not true. 32 There is another who testifies in my favor, and I know that his testimony about me is true.

33 “You have sent to John and he has testified to the truth. 34 Not that I accept human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved. 35 John was a lamp that burned and gave light, and you chose for a time to enjoy his light.

36 “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me. 37 And the Father who sent me has himself testified concerning me. You have never heard his voice nor seen his form, 38 nor does his word dwell in you, for you do not believe the one he sent. 39 You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me, 40 yet you refuse to come to me to have life.

41 “I do not accept glory from human beings, 42 but I know you. I know that you do not have the love of God in your hearts. 43 I have come in my Father’s name, and you do not accept me; but if someone else comes in his own name, you will accept him. 44 How can you believe since you accept glory from one another but do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?

45 “But do not think I will accuse you before the Father. Your accuser is Moses, on whom your hopes are set. 46 If you believed Moses, you would believe me, for he wrote about me. 47 But since you do not believe what he wrote, how are you going to believe what I say?”

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Pondering Point

Jesus chides the Pharisees who are disparaging his teaching and ministry. They were well-versed in God’s Word, yet missed the point – the point of Jesus as the prophesied Savior. They knew the Word but didn’t know Jesus. Can we know the Word of God (the Bible) and not know the Word of God (Jesus)? Obviously yes – Jesus said as much here. May we strive, not so much to know the Bible’s content, but know the Bible’s author. Therein is life – here and in eternity: To know God and his Son Jesus (John 17:3). Seek!

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Lord Jesus, I acknowledge You as God’s Word-in-the-flesh. I want to know You as the Word and as the Author of the Word. Life is in knowing You and Your Father. I want life. I want You. Blessing my seeking of You. Amen.

Wednesday, July 10
Biblical Teachings on Prayer

1 Peter 4:7

The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.
~ Apostle Peter

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Pondering Point

Peter’s point: Be alert and sober-minded SO THAT you can pray.

OK – I’m supposed stay alert and sober-minded. Got it. But behind this basic teaching about prayer is another lesson to be mined: People, situations, environments and times can compromise your ability to pray.

Ask: What is currently hindering or compromising my prayer life? What scenarios lead to absent-mindedness with me, impeding my prayer walk with God?

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Father God, let me use my mind – a gift from You – to honor You. Help me fight dullness, distraction, absent-mindedness and pre-occupation with lesser things. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Thursday, July 11
Prayerfully Re-Center Around God

Ephesians 3:20-21

Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
~ Apostle Paul

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Pondering Point

When we examine this prayer from Paul, we see that God is glorified when His power works in us. Saturday’s IMMERSION story points to God’s power and glory showing up at Solomon’s temple.

God likes to show his power and glory in our temples too – both the individual temples (our bodies) and the collective temple known as the body of Christ. But as the Apostle Paul intimates to the Ephesians in these verses, glory and honor come based on what God imagines rather than us. Imagine that! God, imagine Your power working in me – to Your glory and honor.

Now, let’s review our lives in light of this and to let Him work in us.

Review the week

Do you agree that God is working in you and working in His people? To confess means to ‘agree with’. When you confess your sins, you agree with God (and His word) about your sinfulness. When we confess your faith, you agree with God about who He reveals Himself to be in His Word. Agree with His work in you.

Repent (if necessary)

To repent in this area could relate to doubting that God is working in you or failing to confess that God is able to work in you. Repentance could relate to not giving God glory or seeking your own glory as well.

Return (as necessary)

Remember that your faith is a gift from God (2 Peter 1) and use it as such. Then confess the following words derived from today’s prayer.

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Statement of Faith Prayer

Lord God, you are able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to your power at work within us. Be glorified in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever! Amen.

Friday, July 12
Discipleship Point and Prayer

When we suffer, we find out where we really are, and we learn lessons we never learned while all was comfortable. If our humility cannot pass the test of suffering, wasn't it just a disguise? Isn't it better that we find that out before it is too late to do something about it? If we say, "I don't deserve this kind of pain", we should stop and listen, and learn something very important about ourselves. We are a long way from the cross, a long way from dying to self.

p.125, The Prideful Soul’s Guide to Humility, Fontenot/Jones
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Humility Prayer

Let me learn from suffering. Let me learn in suffering. Let me learn to suffer as Christ suffered – trusting You. In His name I pray. Amen.

Discipleship Point:
Learning to Carve Out a SCOPE Time for the Lord

This concept of prayer acknowledges that while one might hope to retain God consciously in the mind at all times, there is a different benefit with dedicated times allotted on God Himself with no competing distractions: The word Devotion is often used here – meaning ‘singularly focused.’

We call it a Standing Commitment Offered to the Potter Every day.

You can see it in the lives of more than one biblical follower:

• One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer--at three in the afternoon. Acts 3:1

• Three times a day [Daniel] got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God. Daniel 6:10

In what areas of life do you currently have standing commitments with family, work, exercise, leisure, media (think daily, weekly, and monthly)? What are your current standing commitments with God and with His people? Again, think daily, weekly, and monthly. Don’t look for perfection, but participation. This is a great way to expand your mind-loving of God. How do you see this being able to happen in your life today? Get creative if necessary. Ask for God’s help.

Matthew 26:41

Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing but the body is weak.

Philippians 2:13

For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure. 

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Discipleship Prayer

Father God, so often in church we say or sing or pray that You are worthy of our praise. Let me worship You in my daily life by setting up a standing commitment offered to You, the Potter. Whenever, wherever. Let’s make it happen. Come shape me as You desire. Amen.

Saturday, July 13
Scripture's Story for the Week

2 Chronicles 5:1-14

The Ark of the Covenant Brought to the Temple

1 When all the work Solomon had done for the temple of the Lord was finished, he brought in the things his father David had dedicated—the silver and gold and all the furnishings—and he placed them in the treasuries of God’s temple.

2 Then Solomon summoned to Jerusalem the elders of Israel, all the heads of the tribes and the chiefs of the Israelite families, to bring up the ark of the Lord’s covenant from Zion, the City of David. 3 And all the Israelites came together to the king at the time of the festival in the seventh month.

4 When all the elders of Israel had arrived, the Levites took up the ark, 5 and they brought up the ark and the tent of meeting and all the sacred furnishings in it. The Levitical priests carried them up; 6 and King Solomon and the entire assembly of Israel that had gathered about him were before the ark, sacrificing so many sheep and cattle that they could not be recorded or counted.

7 The priests then brought the ark of the Lord’s covenant to its place in the inner sanctuary of the temple, the Most Holy Place, and put it beneath the wings of the cherubim. 8 The cherubim spread their wings over the place of the ark and covered the ark and its carrying poles. 9 These poles were so long that their ends, extending from the ark, could be seen from in front of the inner sanctuary, but not from outside the Holy Place; and they are still there today. 10 There was nothing in the ark except the two tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the Lord made a covenant with the Israelites after they came out of Egypt.

11 The priests then withdrew from the Holy Place. All the priests who were there had consecrated themselves, regardless of their divisions. 12 All the Levites who were musicians—Asaph, Heman, Jeduthun and their sons and relatives—stood on the east side of the altar, dressed in fine linen and playing cymbals, harps and lyres. They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. 13 The trumpeters and musicians joined in unison to give praise and thanks to the Lord. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, the singers raised their voices in praise to the Lord and sang:

“He is good;
his love endures forever.”

Then the temple of the Lord was filled with the cloud, 14 and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the Lord filled the temple of God.

Our story takes place near the beginning of King Solomon’s reign. After carrying out his Father David’s wishes to have a temple built for the God of Israel, it is time to fill and dedicate the temple. That dedication begins with the arrival of its central piece, the Ark of the Covenant. The King has his way of filling the temple (vs. 1,7,12,13) and God has own His way to filling that temple (vs. 13-14).

The Bible’s New Testament describes two other temples in 1 Corinthians. One is your personal body; the other is the collective people of God known as the body of Christ. How and with what are you filling your temple? How is God filling your individual temple? How are you seeing God fill the body of Christ locally at your church, in your Christ-oriented groups?

As a side note, there is quite a history with the Ark of Covenant -- long before Indiana Jones fame! If you have time, check out the Ark’s capture in 1 Samuel 4, the reason for it’s famed reputation in 1 Samuel 5 (and 2 Samuel 6) and its return in 1 Samuel 6.

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Prayer for the Day

Father God, come and fill my temple with Your presence. I Re-dedicate it and myself to your glory and honor. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.

Sunday, July 14
Call to Gather, Pray and Worship God

God Bless You

Isaiah 26:3-4

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you. Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD, the LORD himself, is the Rock eternal. 

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Prayer for the Day

Lord, as you promised, grant me and those I love steadfast minds that You will keep in perfect peace.
I would love to live with perfect peace, something the world cannot give.

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