Throughout Momentum, we will be challenged to Pray, Live and Give in new ways. The Pray Live Give Devotional provides an opportunity to spend intentional time with God.
Each day consists of a selected Scripture passage, a short devotional piece and a challenge to Pray, Live and Give.
All are welcome to participate; new posts will publish to this site daily or you can opt in to receive emails.
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Saturday, October 21
We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail. After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. We sought out the disciples there and stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. When it was time to leave, we left and continued on our way. All of them, including wives and children, accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. After saying goodbye to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.
Paul was in Tyre, but was on his way to Jerusalem. He knew that once he arrived in Jerusalem, he would be mistreated. Paul’s friends in Tyre were concerned for him and urged him not to go. Yet, they trusted Paul as he followed God’s leading.
Paul’s friends loved him and spent as many minutes with him as they could. In fact, they walked with him up until the very moment he boarded a ship. Kneeling with Paul on the beach, they prayed together in their final moments together. They loved their friend to the very end, and they let it show.
Father, You are love. And Your love is beautiful. Thank You for loving me and empowering me to love like You. Help me to point others to You as I love them. Amen.
Today LIVE in a new way. LIVE in a way that others can see and feel your Christ-like love for them. Is there a person in your life that you haven’t spoken to, seen, hugged, or knelt/prayed with in a while? Reach out to that person today. Show them that you love them by contacting, talking with and listening to them. Tell them (with actual words) that you love them. Pray with that person today.
Friday, October 20
Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
In Acts 20:28 Paul is sharing the importance of keeping watch over yourself first, and then the people you lead in your daily life. He extends this to the Church, making sure to remind the reader that the Church was paid for with the blood of Christ’s death on the cross.
To keep watch over ourselves is to stay in a solid walk with Jesus; by examining yourself and your walk as a Christian. You need to ask God to help you keep yourself in his will. It is very important to have our actions and words match the faith we claim in Christ. Realize, we may be the only Bible some people have ever read. We are given the Holy Spirit upon our salvation in Christ – that we would live for Christ, with Christ and like Christ.
It is important that we not only keep watch over ourselves, but also that we care for the needs of those we have been given charge of. In this verse, Paul is talking about shepherding. What exactly does a shepherd do? A shepherd wakes up early (to lead the flock safely to sustenance), stands guard (not letting the flock wander too far or get lost), and keeps the flock (so that they remain together, in unity with one another). May we be alert and depend on Jesus (our Good Shepherd) for guidance and strength as we lead others to the cross.
Father God, Please show me my next step today. Is there somewhere I can step in and give of myself?. I need your eyes and ears to keep watch over those You have given me charge over. Help me to be a humble part of the shepherding of Your church. Lord, you know my fears about shepherding and stepping out of my comfort zone. Please remove any hesitation I may have. Help me to remember that you don’t call the qualified. You, mighty God, qualify the called. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Is there some way you can GIVE guidance to people at our church? Today ask God to show you how you can help when it comes to shepherding others. Listen for God’s answer, and talk with someone you trust about what your next action step might be.
Thursday, October 19
However, I consider my life worth nothing to me; my only aim is to finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the good news of God’s grace.
The Holy Spirit warns Paul that there will be push back, prison and hardships in every city he visits. However, Paul exercises his faith and walks in obedience to God. Paul uses his spiritual gifting, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the opportunities God provides to preach the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ everywhere he goes, no matter what! Whether in freedom or in prison, in the enjoyment of a receptive audience or the face of resistance, with loved ones or separated from friends while under persecution, Paul lives with contentment in the grace of God. Paul preaches the Gospel, constantly putting the glory of God and the needs of others above himself.
Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that You use me for Your glory today. No matter what happens, I pray that I give myself to You; that You would use me today to tell someone of Your good news of grace. Thank you for my spiritual gift – help me to understand more about Your grace so that I might give more of myself to You. I also pray for the strength and courage to spread Your good news. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Paul endured a lot of push back. We may experience push back as well. However, when we GIVE ourselves to God, it is a great blessing – not only to the one who receives our love, but to us as well. GIVE someone a bit of encouragement and hope today by sharing what God has done – or is currently doing – in your life… this is your “God story.”
Wednesday, October 18
Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas. In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.
The believers here are taking their faith to the next level. For many this was to confess their sin (what they had done) openly. They decided to come clean; to stop hiding it and not keep it a secret (a huge act of humility). For others, they chose to take it to the next level; they chose to bring their scrolls. In front of everyone, they burned them in a public act of repentance. Something that sticks out;: they did not sell the evil scrolls (as to profit or financially gain anything). Rather, they burned them and willingly experienced a significant financial loss. This was a declaration and public statement as to who they were becoming. They didn’t just profess Christ with mere words, but confessed and put their faith in action. By doing this, they publicly proclaimed that they were believers who trusted and followed Jesus Christ. By burning the scrolls openly, they opened themselves up to being held accountable for their future actions. Also, due to their BOLD actions, the word of the Lord (i.e., the good message of Jesus Christ) spread widely; more people came to see and believe in the growing power of the Gospel.
Heavenly Father, thank You for loving me so very much; You sent Your son to die for me. Please show me how to grow in my relationship with You. Please reveal in me anything that is preventing me from knowing You more. I want to make You a bigger part of my daily life. Please show me what my next step is. Give me the faith and strength to take that next step with You, in faith. Help me to strengthen my relationship with You and let people see who you are, in and through me. In the precious name of Jesus, Amen.
Today, as you spend time with God, ask Him to direct you; so you can LIVE for God in a new way today. Ask God to reveal to you an accountability partner – someone you can trust, share with and walk with in your Christianity. Today, confess and apologize to someone that you have wronged. Trust that God will bring healing. Trust that God’s Gospel will grow in power. Trust that God will receive glory.
Tuesday, October 17
While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with both Jews and God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.
Acts 17 takes place in the middle of Paul’s second missionary journey while he and his missionary band are in Greece. Like so many times before, the good news of Jesus Christ is shared and the non-believing Jews incite mistreatment and opposition. Paul and his group make disciples in the city of Thessalonica, but are forced to leave. They then travel to the city of Berea, where the good news brings more conversions; however, Paul is forced to leave that city as well.
Paul leaves Berea, but Silas and Timothy remain. Paul travels to the city of Athens, one of the most diverse, educated and idolatrous cities in all the world. As Paul sends for his friends and waits for them to join him, Paul takes in sights and sounds of the city. He is troubled. He takes action. Paul spends his days reasoning and conversing with people in the local synagogue, marketplace and even in the court of the Areopagus.
Paul realized that the people of the city were spiritually lost and would perish apart from new life in Christ. Paul did his best to help them; even though only a small number of people came to faith in Jesus Christ through his efforts.
It is good for us to notice the people around us that do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior; our hearts should break for these family members, neighbors, coworkers, acquaintances, enemies and strangers. God has given us an opportunity and power to pray for the unbelievers God has allowed for us to cross paths with. May we use these opportunities to love like Jesus.
Father, give me eyes like Yours; that I might see and notice the spiritually lost souls around me. Grant me Your heart; that my spirit would be provoked to pray and help those who don’t know You. I need Your mind and Your mouth, Lord; that I might be wise with my words as I share You with others. Help me to love like You, Jesus. Amen.
PRAY in a new way today. First, pray that you might see with God’s eyes today. STOP, PRAY RIGHT NOW (seriously). Now, try praying for people throughout the whole day. PRAY for the person you walk past on the sidewalk. PRAY for the person in the car next to you at the stoplight. PRAY for the bus driver that drove your (grand)children to school today. You get the idea… PRAY for as many people as you can today. PRAY that they might seek God and find Him. PRAY that they would respond to the stirring of God’s Holy Spirit within their hearts. PRAY that God might send and surround them with godly people (like you?) to share the Christian faith with them.
Monday, October 16
The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten with rods. After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. When he received these orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everyone’s chains came loose. The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!”
The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. He then brought them out and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved – you and your household.” Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house. At that hour of the night the jailer took them and washed their wounds; then immediately he and all his household were baptized. The jailer brought them into his house and set a meal before them; he was filled with joy because he had come to believe in God – he and his whole household.
When we are suffering for the Name of Christ, do we respond with hymns of praise? Do we respond with prayer? After all, God is the only one who can rescue us. Are we a witness to those around us as we respond with thanksgiving and joy in the midst of trial? I think we all strive to respond this way, but it certainly isn’t easy. Yet, freedom! That is what Paul and Silas experienced when they responded in such a fashion. Understand though, Paul and Silas didn’t pray and sing so that they might merely be physically set free (they weren’t overly concerned about their own freedom). Rather, they were praising God for how good He is and they were concerned for the spiritual freedom of those around them. Are we willing to consider the glory of God and the freedom of another’s soul, as being of greater value than our personal comfort?
Father, I need Your perspective. I don’t want to suffer. But please help me to point others to you when I do endure trials of many kinds. Help me to count it all joy that I may bring honor to Your Name. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
GIVE yourself to God in a new way today by serving the people around you. Look for, and seize, God-given opportunities to selflessly help others by encouraging, sharing Scripture, listening, hugging, praying-with, or simply lending a hand…even if it comes at the cost of your own personal comfort.
Sunday, October 15
Some time later Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us go back and visit the believers in all the towns where we preached the word of the Lord and see how they are doing.” Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work. They had such a sharp disagreement that they parted company. Barnabas took Mark and sailed for Cyprus, but Paul chose Silas and left, commended by the believers to the grace of the Lord. He went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.
Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark went on a missionary journey. After the first stop, John Mark left and returned to Jerusalem while Paul and Barnabas continued on (see Acts 13:13-14). Later, when Paul decided to return to those they had reached where they had gone the first time, Barnabas wanted John Mark to come along. Paul strongly disagreed; believing that John Mark was untrustworthy and that he had proved himself unable to withstand a missionary journey. Barnabas and Paul disagreed sharply and split. Barnabas took John Mark and Paul chose Silas, both going in opposite directions.
Paul and Barnabas didn’t disagree on doctrine or belief in Jesus;it was a personality difference. Understand, God desires for us to be united and at peace with one another. Yet, God works even in disagreements. Notice that God used this difference to spread the Gospel in two different directions. God now had two teams instead of one and the Gospel was spread further. This shows how God can work His will through any situation, despite our human nature.
Bonus nugget one: Paul and Barnabas reconciled their differences. This is evident from Paul’s words found in his first letter to the Corinthian church (see 1 Corinthians 9:6).
Bonus nugget two: Paul and John Mark also reconciled their differences. This is evident from Paul’s words found at the end of his letter to the Colossian church (see Colossians 4:10) as well as in his second letter to Timothy (see 2 Timothy 4:11).
Father, I thank You for working through differences, disagreements and flawed personalities to accomplish Your will. I ask You to soften and bend my own personality to do what You ask of me. Show me and make clear to me what YOU want, not what i (#intendedtypo) want. Help me to overlook the flaws of others and to repent of my own sins. Remove my every tendency to judge others in inappropriate, God-dishonoring ways. Show me how to walk in the footprints of Jesus and how to see Jesus in others, especially my brothers and sisters in Christ.
Today, look at others through the eyes of Christ. Make a new effort to LIVE in a new way today; like Jesus. Love others (just like Christ does) at work, at home and at church no matter how much you might disagree with them.
Saturday, October 14
They preached the Gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. Paul and Barnabas appointed elders for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust.
We see, in the opening verses of Acts 13, that Paul and Barnabas are commissioned/sent by their church (located in Antioch of Syria) to do what God ]called them to do; spread the Gospel. They initially went to the island of Cyprus, where both they and the Gospel were received well throughout. Then they traveled to some of the cities in Asia Minor (modern-day Turkey).
After sailing to Perga, Paul and Barnabas first went to Antioch of Pisidia to preach the Gospel. Many within the entire city were elated upon hearing the Gospel message of salvation through Jesus, but they were driven out of the city by jealous unbelievers. They then traveled to Iconium, where many believed and became followers of Christ. However, they were again hated by the unbelievers. Eventually, the unbelievers of Iconium attempted to mistreat Paul and Barnabas, but they fled the city before anything materialized. Next, Paul and Barnabas went to Lystra. Although some people believed, much of the city rejected the Gospel at that time. In fact, Paul was nearly killed during his short time in Lystra (the unbelievers stoned him and dragged his supposedly-dead body out of the city). Yet, Paul’s life was preserved by the Lord. Paul got up and re-entered the city of Lystra… WOW!
Lastly, Paul and Barnabas traveled to the city of Derbe. This is where the story picks up in Acts 14:21-23 (our passage for today). Notice how God preserved their lives so that they could carry out the purpose for which they were called. See how the journey they had been walking (in faith, with God) was always difficult, but always fruitful. Some people were trying to kill the two, yet others were coming into new life by the proclamation of the Gospel.
Paul and Barnabas knew that God had called them to share the Gospel with others. They knew that God was with them. They were encouraged by how they saw (time and again) God provide for them and bring new life to others. Because they kept their eyes on Christ, they did not become discouraged along the way. In fact, they shared their confidence with others continually as they established churches in each of the cities they visited and also when they visited them thereafter.
Father, thank You for today. Today is a new day You have given. Help me to worship You in all I do today. Help me to not give up, but to persevere through tough times. Strengthen my faith, God, as I seek Your face; that I might be a light for others to see as I live for You. Amen.
Today, LIVE in a new way for Christ. Who do you know that is a Christian, but is in need of some encouragement? Contact that person today. Encourage them in their faith. Pray for/with them over the phone or write a prayer in your email/letter to them. Remind them to keep their eyes fixed on Jesus and not on their circumstances.
Friday, October 13
And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people. So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church. Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, “Get up quickly.” And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him, “Dress yourself and put on your sandals.” And he did so. And he said to him, “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.” And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him.
Prayer and God’s purposes are a common theme used in Acts and they play an important role in the mission and growth of the church. In chapter 12 we see that Paul had been captured by the king of Judea, Herod Agrippa, who was at this time persecuting the church. He had also just captured James, the brother of John, and had him put to death by the sword (Acts 12:2). The sentence carried out on James pleased Agrippa’s constituents and he looked to gain even more favor with them through the capture and possible execution of Peter. However, we read that the people of the church gathered together in prayer for Peter’s deliverance (12:5) and very likely these prayers reflected the words found in the Psalms (e.g., 17:13; 22:20; 31:1, 15; 43:1; 142:7). In response to the prayers of the church – and in line with His perfect purpose – God sent an angel to release Peter, and did so through an action that proved to be unbelievable to both the church (12:15) and Peter himself (12:9). Unhindered by guards, chains or prison walls, an angel suddenly and silently appears, rouses Peter, and leads him to safety according to God’s perfect purpose.
As we see here in Acts 12, it is God’s purposes rather than the merits or faith of individuals that drive the mission and expansion of the church. God may orchestrate His purposes behind the scenes or through angels as He did here in Acts 12, but it is always His purposes that are at work in and through the prayers of the Church. The church doesn’t grow and thrive based on the works of men, but based on the perfect plan of God. His perfect plan is to grow His Church through the imperfect prayers and obedience of those who follow closely after Him. What a mighty God we serve!
Holy Father, we are unworthy, imperfect and wholly inadequate to carry out Your awesome plan; yet, You desire to use us for that very thing. Lord, give us a prayerful heart, a trusting mind and a humble spirit to follow Your working in our lives as You carry out Your perfect plan. Help us to cast off everything that hinders us from being wholly devoted to you. Foster within us a devotion to You and to one another. Spur us on to love and to do good works. May Your name be glorified and may the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts be pleasing to You, our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
Challenge yourself to PRAY in a new way today, trusting that He will carry out His perfect plan and purpose in your life and in the life of the church. Ask Him to move you to love all you come in contact with at home, work, school, etc. Willingly offer yourself to His working and remember that He is powerful, mighty and able to work all things according to His purpose. Go in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ. May He be glorified by all that you say and do.
Thursday, October 12
Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch. And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius). So the disciples determined, every one according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.
As the Christians (followers of the way of Christ) met in fellowship, the Spirit of God allowed one of them the ability to prophesy about a coming famine in the world. Out of the prophecy, the believers choose to do something about the word they had received by faith. In preparation for the famine, they collected food for themselves and for other believers who were far off from their town.
God always brings and allows people and situations into our lives, so that we might know Him and more about Him. God also gives us the ability to act upon what we have experienced or learned by faith. Like the believers who were experiencing plenty, the chances of doubting and not taking action following the prophecy was quite high. In this day and age – where we live in a society of plenty – it can sometimes be hard to believe even the Word of God. There is so much love-of-self that our love for others is often minimized; it’s all about getting what I want and having it for myself. Yet, God is calling us to believe Him, trust Him at His word and act upon it. God leads us to share His Word with others, so that His joy, our joy and the joy of others might be found and fulfilled.
Thank You, Lord for your faithfulness. Even when I am faithless, thank You for your Word – which is living truth. Help me learn to heed Your Word and believe it for what It is. May I have faith to act upon what You are telling me; that You might use my obedience to the benefit of others. May my joy be derived from fulfilling Your Word in my life and in the lives of those around me.
God gives. As God gives me opportunities, may I GIVE thought to His decree and apply it in my life. May I GIVE of myself in a new way today; so that I might meet the needs of others in a way that brings the Lord glory.