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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Sunday, October 29
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach until the day He was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles He had chosen. After His suffering, He presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive. He appeared to them over a period of 40 days and spoke about the kingdom of God.
Luke’s former book (the gospel of Luke) was probably written to an official within the roman government, named Theophilus. Interesting note: the name Theophilus means “lover of God.” One of Luke’s purposes for writing his gospel was so that Theophilus might be absolutely sure of what he was taught about Christ.
Interestingly, Luke (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit) also wrote Acts. Acts gives us a historical record of the early Church. Luke wrote Acts as a continuation of the Gospel story, to encourage and affirm believers in their faith, and to help Christians LIVE their lives unto God.
It is important to understand that God has given us His Word that we would know Him; and, more importantly, that we would come to be known by Him. And God has given us Himself so that we might live for Him and with Him. We have been given the opportunity – as lovers of God – to LIVE out our faith and join God in His mission of seeking and saving the lost.It would be a shame if any of us ever came away from an encounter with God… unchanged. Rather, by God’s grace, may we be transformed; a people – gathered and united as one under the banner of Jesus Christ – living lives of worship unto the King. May we continue to PRAY in new ways, LIVE in new ways, and GIVE in new ways. May we guard our hearts, not letting anything come between us and our Savior. Let us cling to Christ; and let momentum continue.
Father, thank You for growing my faith and establishing momentum in my walk with You. Thank You that You have made it possible for me to walk as closely to You as I desire. You have been so good to me. I want my life to be a life changed by – and for – Christ. I want to LIVE for You, Lord; help me to LIVE for You. I am Yours. Amen.
Today, schedule a block of time that you will spend with God tomorrow. Determine what Scripture you will read and plan to spend some minutes in prayer. Next, consider all the ways that we have prayed, lived and given over these past four weeks. How can you LIVE for God tomorrow?
Saturday, October 28
For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ – with all boldness and without hindrance!
Paul is imprisoned in Rome for two years… all because He unashamedly followed Christ. Paul gave everything for the One who gave everything for him. Paul would eventually die for Christ, but until that day came, he lived for Christ. Even though Paul’s faith landed him on house arrest in faraway Rome, Paul saw it as an opportunity to continue bringing His Savior glory.
From his private cell/apartment and while physically chained to a different Roman guard every four hours, Paul continued to share the Gospel with anyone and everyone God graced his way. In truth, God was reaching people that would have never otherwise been reached; all sorts of people in Rome were hearing the good news. Roman guards, Jewish leaders, non-Jewish folk and unexpected people (i.e., a run-away slave) were coming to faith in Jesus Christ. Paul wrote Holy Spirit-inspired letters to churches during his imprisonment (Colossians, Philemon, Ephesians and Philippians).
His captivity also fostered boldness and courage amongst believers; many shared their faith in new ways because of Paul’s faithfulness (even while imprisoned) to the calling he received. Paul was an ambassador of Christ, even while in chains. May we all be ambassadors for Christ, in our freedom.
Father, please give me a spirit of boldness; that I might do exactly what you have called me to do. That I might be like Christ. Embolden me with Your strength as You send people my way; people who need to hear from You. I am Yours, Father. May my life be a life lived unto You. Amen.
Today, PRAY in a new way. Pray for expectation; expectation that God would bend His ear to you. That the God of the universe (the One who made the heavens, the earth, the seas and all that is in them) would hear you. That the Savior of the world would answer the prayer of your heart. Pray that God would be pleased to use you to continue His mission of bringing the Kingdom of heaven down to earth. Pray that God would send people your way; that He might minister and help… through you. Be ready. Be (like) Jesus.
Friday, October 27
There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and showed us generous hospitality for three days. His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured.
Do you ever feel like you were just in the right place at the right time? Perhaps that is how Paul often felt when he was traveling around, performing miracles in Jesus name. But Paul knew something, that all of us can know now. Our God is sovereign, and He reigns over every part of our lives. We don’t have to question or wonder if He is good; we can know it, with certainty. Paul didn’t just happen upon Publius’ house when his father just happened to be sick in bed and dying. We must realize that God knew this was all going to happen. In fact, God knew it all before any of these men were even born… wow! God also knew that these events would bring honor and glory to His name. There was never any question – and we don’t have to question either.
If you are going through a valley of suﬀering, you can be sure of this one thing – God sees you. He doesn’t wish these valleys for you, but sometimes we just have to walk through them. He has promised that for those who love Him, He works every single thing out for good. That’s a promise you can hold on to, even in the middle of the night when you have nothing else left.
Your God is good. He has promised He will work everything out for good. God knows all things and was aware of our every circumstance even before the day we drew our ﬁrst breaths. He sees your whole life out in front of you, but sometimes only gives light for our next step. Know this friend, God sees you and He is crazy in love with you. And just like Publius’ father, He wants the very best for your life, no matter what.
Father, we thank You for the opportunity to know that You have a perfect plan for our lives. We know that You are the Author of good stories; and even if our story doesn’t look good right now, it will work out in the end. We pray for peace, to endure the trials that you have set before us. We ask that we would feel your presence; may Your Holy Spirit stir inside of us when an opportunity to shine Your light arises. We ask that You would continue to bless us as we walk the road that you have perfectly crafted for us. Help us not to be discouraged when things don’t seem to be going the way we had hoped they would. We know you are a good Father, and we thank you for that. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Today, you can LIVE in a new way for God, by living like Paul. Paul was a willing servant, open to going wherever God wanted him to go. Open your eyes to God’s leading; see the opportunities God has set before you. And remember that in every step, He so loves you.
Thursday, October 26
After they had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: “Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. Last night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood beside me and said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.’ So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me.”
As these words are written, Hurricanes Harvey and Irma have just devastated parts of the United States. There has been death, pain, fear and destruction. In this passage, we find the Apostle Paul as a prisoner and as he is being transferred to Rome they encounter a hurricane-like storm. The last part of verse 20 gives us a measure of the morale of those on the ship – “we finally gave up all hope of being saved.” Clearly, the crew and passengers are without hope. Yet in five short verses, Paul exhorts the ship and its entire crew to not be afraid by telling the people (three times) to have courage. Paul gained confidence and courage from an encounter with a holy angel of God (see PrayLiveGive – Day 7verses 23-24). In the end all lives were saved because of the mercy and promise of God.
Storms come into our lives. Sometimes these storms are physical. Sometimes the storm is spiritual. Sometimes a storm is of our own doing, yet at other times they come without warning. However, hope (a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen) in any storm is vital. Understand, Paul’s hope was rooted in the promises of God. Christian hope can be defined like this: having or keeping a godly expectation for my life that is rooted in God’s promises.
For example, we hope for salvation (as a believer in Christ) because of His finished work on the cross. This hope is founded on the promises of God. God tells us in John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
Take heart and have courage; God has made a way of rescue.
Dear Lord, as I live my life (in storms and in calmness) help me to keep my expectations rooted in the everlasting promises of Your Word (the Bible). Thank you for the free gift of salvation and the opportunities that you provide to share my faith with others. I pray you would give me courage in the midst of the storms of life.
GIVE hope to someone who is in the midst of a storm. Share with them how Paul was able to have hope in the midst of his situation. Share how you are able to have hope in God’s promises and courage when tough times come your way. Let God’s words to you affect your life… that you might GIVE God’s hope to others too.
Wednesday, October 25
On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. About noon, King Agrippa, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ Then I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ the Lord replied ‘Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen and will see of me. I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’
What does it take to grab your attention? God goes to great lengths to grab ours. It would be great if all He had to do was pick up a microphone and nicely ask, “May I have your attention please?” It takes more than that. As you read the passage, you hear Paul explain to King Agrippa (yes… a King!) how God got his attention. Jesus literally knocked Paul off his feet, told Him who He was, and then told him to get up and start telling people about how to have a relationship with Him. It totally changed Paul’s life. From that day forward, Paul tells anyone and everyone he can about what Jesus did in his life and what He wants to do in theirs (including a king!).We may not get to stand before kings, but we do get to talk about Jesus, The King of Kings. How did you meet Jesus? Have you told anyone recently about how you met Him?
God, You have my attention. What is it that You want of me today? Is there someone that You want me to tell about You? As I work today and as I rest today, would You help me to hear from you first – so that I can share You with others next? Thank You for bringing me from darkness to light; now use me so that others might be brought from darkness to light as well. Father, I specifically pray for my friend, ___________________, who needs to know You. Amen.
Would you start today by letting God know that He has your attention? Look for opportunities to LIVE for God in a new way today. More specifically, by allowing Him to show you ways in which going about your normal, everyday life can turn into conversations about Jesus. It can be natural and easy to share what God has done. Listen as the Holy Spirit prompts you to share with someone else just one thing that Jesus is doing in and through you.
Tuesday, October 24
Then Agrippa said to Festus, “I would like to hear this man myself.” He replied, “Tomorrow you will hear him.”
The next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp and entered the audience room with the high-ranking military officers and the prominent men of the city. At the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. Festus said: “King Agrippa, and all who are present with us, you see this man! The whole Jewish community has petitioned me about him in Jerusalem and here in Caesarea, shouting that he ought not to live any longer. I found he had done nothing deserving of death, but because he made his appeal to the Emperor I decided to send him to Rome. But I have nothing definite to write to His Majesty about him. Therefore I have brought him before all of you, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that as a result of this investigation I may have something to write. For I think it is unreasonable to send a prisoner on to Rome without specifying the charges against him.”
Then Agrippa said to Paul, “You have permission to speak for yourself.” So Paul motioned with his hand and began his defense…
Felix was succeeded by Festus as governor of Judea. King Agrippa visited Festus, heard about Paul’s case, and desired to hear Paul’s side of the story with his own ears. Incredibly, God was answering Paul’s prayer/desire to bring the good news of Jesus Christ to Rome. And at the very same time, God was divinely-orchestrating countless situations during this first imprisonment where Paul could share the gospel with people that would never otherwise hear it. WOW, how smart and amazing is the Lord!Undoubtedly, Paul was praying for the leaders of the government; that they would hear the words of Christ and turn to Him for salvation. We are wise to do the same for the leaders of our government.
Holy Spirit, I need your help to be selfless. It is right for me to embrace every situation you lead me into; it is an opportunity to love like You. Help me to be selfless in my prayers as well. Help me to pray for the welfare of others (instead of for people in ways that benefit me). Renew my mind (over and over) with thoughts of Jesus; as my Saviour, my example, and the One who leads me and empowers me to be Christ like. I pray for government leaders now. Lord, give them ears to hear from You. Surround them with believers and those who will point them to Jesus. May they turn to You and find new life. May they lead in ways that bring You honor. Engineer it all, Lord, for Your glory. Amen.
PRAY in a new way today. In your mind, consider three of your government leaders. Set a reminder (in your phone) to PRAY for one of them during the morning hours, one of them in the afternoon and the remaining one in the evening. PRAY for their faith in Jesus Christ to begin and/or be strengthened. PRAY for their receptivity as the Holy Spirit guides them towards making decisions that honor God. PRAY that God would bless them and that they would recognize God as the giver of all good things. PRAY that in the tough times, they would seek God for refuge and find Him
Monday, October 23
Several days later Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish. He sent for Paul and listened to him as he spoke about faith in Christ Jesus. As Paul talked about righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and said, “That’s enough for now! You may leave. When I find it convenient, I will send for you.” At the same time he was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe, so he sent for him frequently and talked with him.
Felix was a former slave and a brutal governor of Judea (i.e., the region containing Jerusalem). However, he was knowledgeable when it came to Judaism and Christianity. Paul was arrested, falsely accused and nearly killed by the Jews in Jerusalem; Paul now stood before Felix as a part of his legal battle/proceedings. For the next two years, the two men talked (off and on) about Christ.
Felix was interested in and eager for the truth, but that same truth alarmed him because he felt convicted by it. The truth of God’s Word should be alarming to those who do not yet believe. Indeed, the more bitter the conviction, the sweeter the good news of God’s grace becomes. Often though, it takes time. It takes time for a person to process and understand their sinful condition apart from God’s forgiveness. It takes time to understand that God is good and that He desires to rescue those in need. It takes time for most people to decide to receive grace from Jesus Christ. God gave Felix the opportunity to sit under the teaching of one of the greatest evangelists the world has ever seen, and God (out of His great mercy) also gave Felix time to process and respond. God is love… and His love is patient.
Father, You are patient and kind. You don’t envy or boast. You aren’t arrogant or rude. You don’t insist on Your own way and You are not irritable or resentful. You never rejoice in wrong doing, but always rejoice with the truth. Your love endures all things and Your love never fails. God, I desire to love like You. You have placed people in my path and given me opportunities to love. Make my heart more like Yours, that I would be loving and patient… just like You. Amen.
Today GIVE in a new way. Who have you been praying for? Is there someone you have been speaking with about Jesus for some time now? Do not allow yourself to become discouraged. Instead, renew your faithfulness towards that person; trust in the mercy of God, the power of the Holy Spirit working on the heart of that person, and the love of the Savior. Don’t give up… but as you surrender to Jesus, GIVE the person you love time to process and respond to God’s grace.
Sunday, October 22
The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them. He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks. The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage! As you have testified about me in Jerusalem, so you must also testify in Rome.”
Paul could have chosen to be harsh or angry about his given circumstances. Paul could have chosen to be upset with God for the situation He allowed Paul to find himself in. Yet, even in this that of persecution, God’s grace shone brightly. God made it clear to Paul that there was reasoning for his troubles. God revealed to Paul that he needed to “take courage!” as he was to continue testifying of God’s Gospel in – and on his way to – Rome. God did not want Paul to allow the violence to distract him from what God had set him out to do.
Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that this Scripture passage opens and renews my soul. May the words You spoke to Paul come alive in my life. Help me to receive Your encouragement and tackle normal, everyday things as well as the more difficult. In times of trial, enable meto remember the courage you put in Paul’s heart. Help me to apply that courage to my own life, always. Amen.
Nowadays, not all of us find ourselves being physically beaten by the people demanding adherence to Jewish law and beliefs. But are we choosing to actively listen to God’s voice when He tells us to have courage? Are we choosing to continue to press on? Today, PRAY in a new way! Take heart – ask God to speak to you in a specific way. Be patient, as God does not always answer prayer on our time or in ways we might expect. Stay alert and remember – God is with you. He is encouraging you to press on in your faith!
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.