5 Habits - Overflow #6

Welcome to Everyday Devotions. These daily Bible readings and Prayer Pathways are designed to help you go deeper with God each day in response to what you are hearing at the Everyday Church services and Life Group gatherings.

Saturday 8th February

We have almost reached the end of our five weeks of daily Everyday Devotions. We would like to go on providing these for you, but we are about to take a break after these first five weeks to listen to your feedback in order to decide if and how best to continue to provide these for you daily. If you haven’t yet fed back your thoughts and comments, therefore, please do so today or tomorrow. In the meantime, these final two days will help you to consolidate the five healthy habits of a Christian that we have learned together: Bible Meditation and Prayer Pathways and Sung Worship and being filled with the Holy Spirit and allowing the Holy Spirit to Overflow into the spiritual wasteland all around us.

Bible Meditation

2 Peter 1:1-11

1 Simon Peter, a servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who through the righteousness of our God and Saviour Jesus Christ have received a faith as precious as ours: 2 Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord. 3 His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; 6 and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; 7 and to godliness, mutual affection; and to mutual affection, love. 8 For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. 9 But whoever does not have them is near-sighted and blind, forgetting that they have been cleansed from their past sins. 10 Therefore, my brothers and sisters, make every effort to confirm your calling and election. For if you do these things, you will never stumble, 11 and you will receive a rich welcome into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

1) In the Western Church we tend not to talk too much about the need to make an effort to grow up spiritually into full maturity in God. For us, it smacks of legalism, and we rightly don’t want anything to do with that. How does Peter strike a better balance, however, in these verses? How does he manage to talk about “grace” (verse 2) which means God’s “divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life” (verse 3), whilst at the same time urging us to “make every effort” to grow up in our faith (verses 5 and 10)? How can these two things go hand in hand with one another?

2) What do you think Peter means when he warns that some Christians are “ineffective and unproductive in their knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ”? In what ways do you feel that you can be a bit like this at times?

3) What are you going to do differently throughout the rest of this year as a result of learning about these five habits of a healthy Christian? What is your plan to keep pursuing Bible Meditation, to keep on using these Prayer Pathways, to keep on Singing Worship Songs and asking God to fill you with his Holy Spirit so that the River of God can continue to Overflow through you into the spiritual wasteland all around you?

4) Learn verse 3 as a memory verse and keep on praying it back to God as a clear promise to help you persevere in these five things: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.”

2 Thessalonians 1:3

3 We ought always to thank God for you, brothers and sisters, and rightly so, because your faith is growing more and more, and the love all of you have for one another is increasing.

2 Timothy 2:20-22

20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
5) How do these two statements from the apostle Paul echo what Peter taught us? How can your own faith “grow more and more” throughout the rest of this year? How can you persistently “flee” what is evil and “pursue” what is good?

Prayer Pathway

One way in which you can build these five habits of a healthy Christians into your life from now on is to make the three big moments of each day moments where we stop and spend a little time with God. When we wake up in the morning, when we take a break for lunch and when we go to bed in the evening, the Lord invites us to adopt the same habit as Daniel: “He went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God.”
So let’s use The Examen Prayer as our prayer pathway for today. Created by Ignatius of Loyola in the sixteenth century, it is one of the simplest pathways for you to adopt as a habit even as we take a short break from providing you with these Everyday Devotions. Let’s pray its 4Rs together.

REJOICE: Look back on the past few hours since you spent time in focused prayer to God. What has happened that is good and that you need to say thank you to God for? Make sure you check in with grateful rejoicing for what he has done for you.

REPENT: Look back on the past few hours and say sorry to God for anything that you have done that you know was sinful or displeasing to him. God is eager to forgive you and to lead you forward from here.

RENOUNCE: Look back on the past few hours and reflect on the ways in which you have seen a clash between the way God wants you to live and the way that the world around you is living. These are the battlefields on which your daily fight for holiness is being fought right now. Renounce wrong ways of thinking, declaring that you are siding with God and with his Word in each of those areas, no matter what price is to pay.

REBOOT: Look forward to the next few hours before your next check-in of focused prayer to God. What challenges and opportunities lie ahead of you? What discouragements and failures are you likely to drag with you into those next few hours unless you leave them here with God? Deal with those things now and let God reboot your life for the next few hours. Go into them empty of baggage and full of expectation. Let God commission you to serve him joyfully for the next few hours until you return to check in through these 4Rs again.

Be encouraged by Daniel 6:13 – “Then they said to the king, ‘Daniel, who is one of the exiles from Judah, pays no attention to you, Your Majesty, or to the decree you put in writing. He still prays three times a day.’” Come back later to pray these 4Rs when you wake up in the morning, when you take a break for lunch and in the evening before you go to bed.

End with Worship

In order to help you to respond to God in sung worship, we have created two playlists for you on Spotify:

The Everyday Devotions playlist contains a handful of songs which are particularly relevant to our Everyday Devotions this week. This song list changes each week along with our devotions.

The Everyday Church Song List playlist contains most of the songs that we are singing right now across the venues of Everyday Church. This is a wider song list for you to play throughout the day to help you worship as you wash up, as you drive, as you shower, as you sit on the bus and as you go about your day.

If you are somewhere where you can sing loudly, why not use these two playlists to end by singing some songs of worship to the Lord? If you are on the bus or train, why not put on your headphones and sing in your heart to God instead?

This week the songs are largely prayers for God to fill us with his Holy Spirit and to overflow into the world through us.

Family Devotions

If you are a parent, then one of the simplest ways for you to allow what God has done in your own heart to overflow into the lives of others is to pass these Everyday Devotions onto your children. If you are not a parent, then you can still use these Everyday Devotions to disciple a friend, a flatmate or a work colleague. Although the daily devotions are time-stamped, they are fresh enough for you to go on using them with your friends. Try it out at least once, perhaps using the little illustration that we shared with you earlier in the week.

I’m scared,” Brett told his dad one bedtime. “What is it, son?” his dad replied. “Tell me what it is and we can pray about it together.” “Well,” Brett began, “I’m worried I might stop wanting to follow Jesus. I’m scared that I might slip away from God’s love.” Brett’s dad sat down on his bed and stretched out his big, strong hand. He told Brett to put his small hand inside his dad’s big hand and then he told him to “Try to pull away from me.” Try as he might, the young boy could not release himself from his father’s grip. “My grip is stronger than yours, Brett,” his dad reminded him. “It’s too strong for you to slip out of. And God’s hold of you is even stronger. It’s not about how hard you can hold onto God, but about how hard God can hold onto you.”

That’s what Moses needed to learn in today’s Bible reading. He acted as though partnering with God was more about what he could do for God than what God could do for him. Praise God, he is always strong enough for the both of you. We must never forget that.

Discipling others is as simple as that. It’s about finding a story that will connect with people and open their eyes to what God says to them in the Scriptures. It’s about embracing the powerful Word of God as spiritual seed to transform your own life and then passing that spiritual seed on to others.
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These Everyday Devotions have been produced and edited by Phil and Ruth Moore on behalf of the Everyday Church Elders

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