Hello, UPC Family!
This is the last in a series of daily devotions as a follow-up and encouragement to the theme that Pastor Matt introduced this past Sunday (Jan 12) within his sermon "When You Pray & Fast".
Praying and Fasting in Unity
Today is the last day of our church-wide fast and I’m hoping most, if not all, of us feel something special. In fact, I’m hoping we all feel the same thing one of our young adults recently did. The two of us were sitting at a Chick-fil-a talking and he said something like this: “When you announced the results of the Christmas Offering on Sunday I felt something.” I asked him what he meant. He proceeded to tell me he felt really good when he heard about the Christmas Offering. That good feeling was about more than the fact that we exceeded our goal. It was tied to the fact that, by God’s grace, we did it. We, as a church, by God’s grace, did something really special and we did it together.
What he felt was unity. We, as a church body, united together and, by God’s grace, did something really special in December. And I hope we are all feeling that way again. This week we, as a church body, united together and, by God’s grace, did something special. We fasted and prayed that God would richly bless our worship, give us genuine community with one another, and make us more fruitful in mission. It’s a great way to prepare for our sermon series on Ephesians (starting this Sunday) because Ephesians has a lot to say about church unity.
As we fast for one last day today, I hope we all feel our need for God, our need for grace, and our need for Christ’s finished work on our behalf. But I also hope we feel the need we have for one another. And I hope we’ll all strive this year to make sure everybody at UPC has the community they need. Let’s love one another in bigger and better ways this year. Just imagine what that could be like! Let’s do more things together, as a church body. And above all, let’s keep praying. We should do this. Together.
Ephesians 3:20-21 Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Things to continue praying for:
HUNGER that leads us to grow spiritually
Matthew 5:6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Ephesians 4:12-16 until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.
COMPASSION that leads us to reach our unchurched neighbors
Matt. 9:36-38 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore pray earnestly to the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest."
ABIDING that leads to fruitfulness among ministries of UPC
Col. 1:5b-6 Of this you have heard before in the word of the truth, the gospel, which has come to you, as indeed in the whole world it is bearing fruit and increasing, as it also does among you, since the day you heard it and understood the grace of God in truth,
John 15:5, 8 I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
WISDOM that leads to living out our faith at work
Gen. 2:15 The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it.
Col. 3:23 Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men
1 Cor. 10:31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.
LOVE that leads to rich relationships and Biblical "one-anothering"
Rom. 12:10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.
1 Th. 3:12 and may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all, as we do for you.
Considerations to abstain from as you are led to do so:
- Social Media
- Mobile Phone
- Video Games