DAILY DEVOTIONAL: John 20:24-29 from Brandon
Today let’s listen to a new devotional from one of our Children’s Interns, Brandon McAlister.
Pray for those who have not yet given their lives to Christ. Pray for the Holy Spirit to work within their hearts and to fill them with the hope that only comes through the Lord. In a time when uncertainty is at an all-time high, the confidence found in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ transcends all worldly anxiety. So pray for the Lord to move in unbelievers’ hearts so they would receive His Holy Spirit and be filled with His immeasurable peace.
“to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”
“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.’”
FAMILY RESOURCES: Outreach Challenge
As the body of Christ, in times of struggle we shouldn’t retreat into our own worlds. As Kelly Kapic from the Gospel Coalition so eloquently states, “We must courageously resist this isolation. Not by violating the government’s sober instructions, but by learning afresh to cultivate communion with God and neighbor in this surreal season.” Of course it’s crucial to look out for our own needs, however it’s equally critical to “love your neighbor as yourself”. This looks different within the realms of social distancing but we need to be the light of Christ to our community now more than ever. Here are some ways in which you can still be neighborly in this time.
1. Reach out to people
Ask the Holy Spirit to put people on your heart, and as they come to mind make contact with them. It may be a close friend, a neighbor, or someone you haven’t talked to in quite some time. Give them a call, text, FaceTime, Zoom or whatever else and just see where they’re at. Let them know that you are thinking about them. Just telling someone that they are appreciated and loved can go a long way.
2. Check in on where people are at
Elaborating on reaching out, be aware of keeping conversations intentional when you can. More than ever, people are willing to be vulnerable with their emotions. This may be an opportunity to perform a “spiritual check-up.” You can ask them how they’re truly doing and the condition of their heart during the quarantine. For those who don’t believe in Jesus, you may want to ask them “What do you believe?”, with a follow up, “What led you to that belief?”, then make sure to listen to what they’re saying. Opening up the conversation on belief can often be a great way to introduce the hope of the gospel when many unbelievers currently have no hope.
3. Offer prayer
Prayer is a powerful tool we have that we should utilize as often as we can. Ask people, “How can I pray for you”. If you want to take it a step further, offer to pray with them at that moment. Even just taking the time to visit our online prayer wall and letting others know that you prayed for them can be encouraging. Through prayer, we can intercede for others and see the way that God moves.
4. Ask how you can help
See what ways you can bring aid to your community. Maybe that means picking up groceries for a neighbor who is at risk for leaving their home. Perhaps for you, it means volunteering in outreach programs in the community. If you have the funds, you could even see if families need financial support through these hard times. The opportunities are plenty, so we should be aware of the ways we can step up to help others around us.
5. Be creative
Brainstorm creative ways that you can spread the light of Jesus in your community. The sky’s the limit to the variety of things you can do! People have decorated their sidewalks, had outdoor worship on their street, written letters, dropped off cookies at people’s front doors and so much more! Think out-of-the-box for ways that you can bring a smile to those around you and proclaim the good news of Jesus!
-Brandon McAlister, Hope Chapel Children’s Intern
PRAYER & FASTING:
Here is a prayer to meditate on today as we fast & pray together on Fridays:
Fasting is Feasting Prayer
By the mercy of Christ
I shall not live by bread alone
But by every word
That proceeds from the mouth of God.[i]
The Word of God
Is alive and active;
The Lord is right now speaking
His life into my soul.[ii]
The Spirit of God
That raised Christ from the dead
Lives and prays in my body
And reminds me of Jesus’ words.[iii]
So as I fast from food I feast with joy
On the manna from heaven,
The bread of angels,
The Bread of Life, who is Jesus.[iv]
My food is to be one with Jesus:
To do the will of the Father,
To finish his works of love,
To share my food with the hungry.[v]
In the name of the Father, The Son, And the Spirit.