Daily Devotions

TIME CAPSULE: The 13th Amendment

“If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John 8:36)

On this day in 1865, the United States House of Representatives passed the 13th Amendment to our Constitution. This historic Amendment, eventually ratified by the states and proclaimed by Secretary of State William H. Seward on December 18, 1865, abolished the institution of slavery in America. It reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude…shall exists within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”

The 13th Amendment brought to an end what is arguably the most embarrassing chapter of American history—a time when America not only practiced the institution of slavery, but justified it with inexcusable and inhumane laws such as the Supreme Court’s 1857 Dred Scott decision. This infamous decision, which the Court has never actually overruled, denied that slaves were persons with constitutional rights, and defined them instead as the mere property of their owners.

I’m afraid that all who think of today’s America as having advanced far beyond the perpetration of such crimes against humanity are sorely mistaken, as is easily proven by the present-day atrocity of abortion. The Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision denies to the unborn, what the Dred Scott decision denied to the enslaved; namely, personhood and constitutional rights. Whereas 4 million human beings were once enslaved in this land thanks to the unconscionable apathy of its citizenry, more than 51 million have been aborted with both government sanction and populace support.

This sordid history of our nation exposes the true despot under whom we, as well as the rest of the world, continues to be subjugated and enslaved. It is, as the Bible clearly teaches, sin (Romans 6:1-23). No constitutional amendment can free us from its shackles; only Christ can liberate us from such bondage!

Until we turn to Christ, we will never be free from ourselves, our feigned righteousness and the fetters of our sin. We will continue to perpetrate and pardon ourselves for our indefensible crimes against humanity. It is only by coming to Christ that we can be “free indeed”—free from our sins and free from ourselves. Until we are saved by Christ the helpless and hapless will never be safe from us.

“And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.” (2 Corinthians 5:15)

SOUTHERN BAPTIST’S DAY OF PRAYER: Renew Your Covenant with God

“This is the covenant that I will make…I will put My laws into their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people.” (Hebrews 8:10, HCSB)

The writer of Hebrews explained that Jesus is the mediator of a new covenant between God and His people. This covenant agreement is based on a love relationship. As our Lord and King, God has given us His commands to obey so we can experience life abundantly.

This is the covenant that I will make…I will put My laws into their minds

and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be My people  (Hebrews 8:10, HCSB).

But Jesus warned, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord!’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven” (Matthew 7:21, HCSB). We enter a saving covenant relationship with God through faith in Jesus Christ alone, not by works of our own (see Ephesians 2:8-9). But our obedience to God’s will is one clear way we demonstrate that our love relationship with Him is genuine.

If you and your fellow church members have found that you have drifted away from your first love and from obedience to the Lord’s commands, God invites you to return to Him. Hear God’s invitation:

Let the wicked one abandon his way and the sinful one his thoughts; let him  return to the LORD, so He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for  He will freely forgive (Isaiah 55:7, HCSB).

Return to Me… and I will return to you, says the LORD of Hosts (Zechariah  1:3, HCSB).

As I described in discussing consecration in day 2, Christ is seated on His throne with open hands waiting for the sacrifice of your life.

❋ PRAY about the life of love, obedience, and holiness you will bring to Christ. Return to Him with all your heart!

Read the Scriptures and statements on page 16. Be prepared to renew your covenant commitments to the Lord when you gather in sacred assembly with your brothers and sisters in Christ.

Reader 1: 1 Peter 1:13-16; 2 Peter 3:10-14; Colossians 3:1-14

People: Father, because You are holy, we have consecrated ourselves to be holy as You are holy. Through Christ we have put to death the things of our old sinful lives. We have put on the new self, and we ask You to continue to renew us and conform us to the image of Christ. We will seek to live lives that are spotless and blameless.

Reader 2: 1 John 4:19; Romans 5:8; Ezekiel 36:25-27

People: We love You, Lord Jesus Christ, because You first loved us and laid down Your life for us. We want to love You with all our hearts. We have put away the idols of our hearts. Forgive us and grant us renewed hearts of love for You.

Reader 3: 1 John 2:15-17; Matthew 6:25,32-33

People: Sovereign Lord, today we choose to put away our love for the world and the things of the world. We will seek first Your Kingdom rule in our hearts and through our lives. We will pursue Your righteousness in our lives, in our families, and in our world.

Reader 4: Malachi 3:6-10; Matthew 23:23; Matthew 6:19-21

People: O Lord, we have been greedy and selfish. We have robbed You of things rightfully Yours. Forgive us and enable our repentance. Today we choose to give to You the things that are Yours, including money, justice, mercy, and faithfulness.

Reader 5: Matthew 28:19-20; John 14:15,21,23-24

People: Because we love You, Lord, we choose this day to obey all You have commanded us. Deepen our love for You and enable our complete obedience.

Reader 6: 2 Corinthians 5:14-21; Acts 1:8

People: Christ Jesus, we are Your ambassadors, and You have entrusted to us the ministry of reconciliation. We surrender to Your calling to be Your witnesses and to plead with people to get right with You. We pledge ourselves today to be faithful to obey Your command to make disciples of all people to the ends of the earth.

SOUTHERN BAPTIST’S DAY OF PRAYER: Restore Your Broken Relationships

“I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me” (John 17:23, HCSB).

The night before Jesus went to the cross, He prayed for our unity: “I am in them and You are in Me. May they be made completely one, so the world may know You have sent Me and have loved them as You have loved Me” (John 17:23, HCSB). Our unity is the most convincing evidence to the lost world that Jesus is the Savior sent from God. And our disunity is probably the greatest hindrance in leading others to faith in Christ. If you have broken relationships with others, you must be reconciled. Consecrate yourself and reconcile your broken relationships.

On a separate sheet of paper, list the names of people with whom you   have broken relationships. This would include those you have offended   without seeking forgiveness and those who have offended you. Offenses   can occur as a result of actions, words, or attitudes. Ask God to bring to   mind all those you need to consider.

Your relationship with others has a direct correlation to your relationship with God. Jesus said:

If you are offering your gift on the altar, and there you remember that your  brother has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar.  First go and be reconciled with your brother, and then come and offer your  gift (Matthew 5:23-24, HCSB).

Your offerings and even your worship are unacceptable to God if you have caused offenses and have not reconciled. If you are the offender:

1.  Pray and ask God for help in thorough repentance.

2.  Go to make things right in obedience to God.

3.  Confess your sin to God and to those directly affected by the sin.

4.  Don’t apologize. Ask for forgiveness.

5.  Go in person if at all possible. Talk face-to-face.

6.  Don’t reflect negatively on the other person or his actions or attitudes. Deal only  with your part of the offense.

7.  Make restitution (pay for the offense) when appropriate.

8.  If you don’t receive a positive response, continue to pray for and seek  reconciliation with the unforgiving person.

If you are the one who has been offended, Jesus has instructions for you also. He said, “Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will also forgive you your wrongdoing” (Mark 11:25, HCSB). Holding on to unforgiveness limits the way God will forgive you and hinders your prayers. You need to understand and practice forgiveness.

1.  Forgiveness is fully releasing another from the debt of the offense.

2.  Forgiveness is a command, not an option: “Forgive whatever grievances you  may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians  3:13, NIV).

3.  You cannot forgive and love in your own strength. The Holy Spirit of Christ can  enable you to forgive and love. Ask Him for help.

4.  Forgiveness is a choice of your will, not the result of a feeling. You must choose  to forgive.

5.  The person who forgives is the one who has to pay the price of forgiveness.  Jesus paid the price for you.

6.  You are never more like Jesus than when you forgive and show grace and mercy.  Being offended provides you with the invitation to reveal Christ to the offender by  your forgiveness.

7.  Forgiveness does not mean the offense was not wrong.

8.  Forgiveness is not permission for the offender to do it again.

9.  Forgiveness does not mean you will fully forget. You choose not to hold the  offense against the person any longer. If the memories return and you start to  hold on to the offense again, forgive again.

10.   How much do you forgive? Seventy times seven (Matthew 18:21-22). In other  words, forgive an unlimited number of times.

11.   Jesus said, “If [your brother] sins against you seven times in a day, and comes  back to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him” (Luke 17:4,  HCSB). In other words, even if the offender really doesn’t repent and change his  ways, you still forgive.

12.   Even if the person doesn’t believe he is wrong, forgive. Jesus set the model for  us on the cross when He prayed for those who were killing Him: “Father, forgive  them” (Luke 23:34, HCSB).

13.   In Mark 11:25 Jesus didn’t require you to go to the person to forgive. You can do  that as you pray.

❋ APPLY these guidelines to the relationships you listed earlier.

❋ PRAY and ask God to guide and enable you to forgive and reconcile every broken relationship in a way that brings Him glory and brings you freedom and joy. Walk in unity.

________

1. Adapted from Claude King, Come to the Lord’s Table (Nashville: LifeWay Press, 2006), 69–73. I’ve been greatly influenced in the matters of reconciliation and forgiveness by Life Action Ministries; P.O. Box 31; Buchanan, MI 49107-0031; www.lifeaction.org.

SOUTHERN BAPTIST’S DAY OF PRAYER: Be Holy as God Is Holy

“As the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, ‘Be holy, because I am holy’ ” (1 Peter 1:15-16, HCSB).

Peter wrote, “As the One who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct; for it is written, ‘Be holy, because I am holy’ ” (1 Peter 1:15-16, HCSB). That’s what consecration is all about: becoming holy, clean, pure, and righteous like God. Paul said, “Those He foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son” (Romans 8:29, HCSB). God wants you to be holy as Christ is holy. Consecrate yourself by putting away everything that is unholy or even questionable.

Prayerfully read through the following list and ask God’s Holy Spirit to   convict you of any unholy or questionable activities or attitudes that need   to change. If He reveals something, agree with Him about your sin and   repent (quit doing it; change your ways).

□ Put away lust and impurities of the mind.

□ Put away all forms of sexual immorality.

□ Put away lying, filthy language, slander, or hurtful words.

□ Put away anger, rage, malice, prejudice, and racism.

□ Put away sinful attitudes and behaviors that are not like Christ.

Some of these sinful patterns may seem impossible to put away. But Jesus Christ won victory over sin by His death and resurrection. You can ask God to help you live in the reality of Romans 6, which teaches that we have died to sin. We have been set free from sin and the power of sin. If you still frequently struggle with one or more sins, “confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed” (James 5:16, HCSB). Ask a brother or sister in Christ to pray with you for victory over sin. Be holy as God is holy!

In Genesis 35 God invited Jacob to a time of worship. This would be a time of sacred assembly for Jacob’s family, so Jacob prepared them:

Jacob said to his family and all who were with him, “Get rid of the foreign gods  that are among you. Purify yourselves and change your clothes. We must get up  and go to Bethel. I will build an altar there to the God who answered me in my  day of distress. …” Then they gave Jacob all their foreign gods and their  earrings, and Jacob hid them under the oak near Shechem (Genesis 35:2-5,  HCSB).

If we are not very careful, we can be influenced by the standards of the people and culture around us just as Jacob’s family had been. We may tolerate or even embrace and endorse things that are impure, unholy, profane, unclean, or even wicked and evil. Over time our homes may be filled with such impurities. Take time to consecrate your home.

Bring your family together to consecrate your home. Stop and pray,   asking God to reveal to you and your family members things in your   home that represent the impurities of the world God would like for you to   get rid of. Confess to the Lord that you want to be clean and pure before   Him. Give Him permission to clean your home of impurities.

Imagine Jesus is coming to your home to take a careful look in every   room. He will see the things in your closets and drawers. He will see the   music you listen to and the DVDs you watch. He will look on the shelves   at your reading literature. He will check out the refrigerator and examine   your computer files. Nothing will escape His pure gaze. Ask yourselves,   What is in our home that we would be ashamed for Jesus to see? These   are the things you need to throw away.

Invite family members to clean the house of spiritual and moral impurities   that may have accumulated there. With a trash can or bag in hand, walk   through each room, cleaning as you go. In every case let God’s Holy   Spirit guide your consciences. If you have doubts or disagreement about   an item, pause and pray about it and ask the Lord what He thinks about it.

After you have collected the things that need to be disposed of, respond   to God in prayer.

• Confess to the Lord that you have sinned by tolerating evils and    impurities that are not appropriate for His holy people.

• Ask Him to forgive and cleanse you.

• Ask Him to set you free from any desire to hold on to impurities. Ask    Him to change your heart in love and obedience to Him.

• Pledge to Him your renewed loyalty, love, and desire to please Him    and obey Him. Thank Him for the purity and godly character He is    bringing into your life.

Dispose of the items that need to be thrown out. You may need to take   them to a dumpster, burn them, or in some other way remove the   temptation to retrieve them later. Do not sell or give away things that are   evil, unholy, or impure.

SOUTHERN BAPTIST’S DAY OF PRAYER: Humble Yourself and Put Away Pride

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.” (1 Peter 5:5-6, NIV)

Quoting from Proverbs, Peter wrote, “  ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.’ Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time” (1 Peter 5:5-6, NIV). Pride is a sin that stands in opposition to God. He aggressively opposes it. Consecrate yourself and put away pride.

To get an idea of God’s thoughts about pride, read the Scriptures below and circle words like pride, proud, arrogant, and haughty.

The LORD protects the loyal, but fully repays the arrogant (Psalm 31:23, HCSB).

Though the LORD is exalted, He takes note of the humble; but He knows the haughty from a distance (Psalm 138:6, HCSB).

I hate arrogant pride, evil conduct, and perverse speech (Proverbs 8:13, HCSB).

Everyone with a proud heart is detestable to the LORD; be assured, he will not go unpunished (Proverbs 16:5, HCSB).

Pride comes before destruction, and an arrogant spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18, HCSB).

I will put an end to the pride of the arrogant and humiliate the insolence of tyrants (Isaiah 13:11, HCSB).

When pride is present in your life, it may manifest itself in a variety of other sinful ways. It is like the root of a tree that bears much fruit. If you cut off a branch to get rid of the fruit but do nothing to the root, you will soon get a new crop of fruit. Pride is like that. The following list includes some of the fruit sins that come from pride.

As you read the following list, look for evidence that you may have pride   issues you need to deal with in your life.

□ prejudice □ argumentative □ sexual immorality □ rudeness □ boastfulness  □ taking license to sin □ complaining □ stubbornness □ a critical spirit_______ □ disobedience □ independence □ selfish ambition □ exalting self ________ □ prayerlessness □ a judgmental spirit □ faultfinding  □ self-promotion ____ □ rebellion toward authority  □ gossiping □ self-sufficiency □ thinking highly  of self □ unrepentant □ holding on to sin □ unwilling to confess sin _________ □ haughtiness □ being demanding □ desiring control □ impatience □ being  unforgiving □ pleasing people over God □ ingratitude □ self-righteousness _ □ following your evil desires

Do you see any evidence that you struggle with pride? Check one.

□ Yes □ No

If you checked no, that may be the best evidence of all. Pride is such a fundamental sin for all humans that we must always watch for evidence of it in our lives. Peter explained that the way to get rid of pride is by humbling ourselves. When God promised forgiveness and healing in 2 Chronicles 7:14, He gave four requirements to His people:

(1)Humble yourself (2) Pray (3) Seek His face, and (4) Turn from your evil ways.

The starting place is to humble yourself. Dealing seriously with your pride is a starting point for returning to a right relationship with God. In order to humble yourself, you can do such things as the following.

•  Acknowledge God’s greatness and sovereign right to rule your life.

•  Agree with Christ that apart from Him you can do nothing.

•  Agree with God about your sin. Confess your pride to others.

•  Give up or yield your rights. Yield control to others.

•  Submit to one another in reverence for Christ.

•  Serve others. Accept lowly tasks without complaint.

•  Confess your weaknesses or needs and accept help.

•  Confess dependence on God and interdependence on others.

•  Honor others above yourself.

•  Do the things pride tells you not to do.

•  Ask people to pray for you. Ask for help in getting rid of pride.

•  Give away or dispose of things that cause you to feel proud.

•  Be willing to associate with people of low degree.

❋ PRAY And ask the Lord to help you humble yourself and get rid of pride and every evidence of it in your life.

SOUTHERN BAPTIST’S DAY OF PRAYER: Remove the Idols in Your Heart

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.” (Mark 12:30 HCSB)

One way your love for Christ declines or grows cold is that you begin to love someone or something more than you should. His first and greatest command to you is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30, HCSB). When anything distracts you from this first and wholehearted love for Christ, you need to return to your first love.

In Ezekiel 14 God said Israel’s elders had set up idols in their hearts. Idolatry is not just worshiping a false god or an image of one. When you allow your love to be drawn away to other things so your love for Christ decreases, you are practicing idolatry. This idol in your heart can be a person, a thing, or an activity. Today I want you to examine yourself to learn whether you have any heart idols you need to put away. Consecrate yourself by removing the idols and renewing your love for Christ.

Read the following Scriptures and underline the words or phrases that   describe things you can love so much that they distract you from your   first love for the Lord. I’ve underlined one for you.

“Do not love the world or the things that belong to the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15, HCSB).

“No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money” (Matthew 6:24, HCSB).

Prayerfully read the following list of things that can become idols in your   heart. Identify anything you have grown to love so much that it is   distracting you from a wholehearted love for Christ.

□ career □ money □ hobbies □ shopping □ television □ power □ influence   □ club or organization □ travel □ drugs/alcohol □ gambling □ entertainment   □ another person □ the world and things of the world □ sports or sporting   events □ Other: _______________________

❋ PRAY And confess your idolatry to God. Grieve over the fact that you have offended the One who loves you so much that He died for you.

❋ PRAY And put away the false gods and return to your first love—Jesus Christ.

Consecrate the People

CONSECRATE THE PEOPLE – PDF Download

Consecrate the People is an abbreviated process designed to help Godʼs people prepare to renew their covenant commitments to
Him. Several of the daily devotionals have been adapted from a more thorough process of preparing for and celebrating a sacred
assembly at a Lordʼs Supper observance. Come to the Lordʼs Table by Claude King is a 28-day devotional guide that helps a church
celebrate the Lordʼs Supper as a meaningful time of refreshment and renewal in its love relationship with Jesus Christ. Individual
copies and case-lot quantities are available by calling toll free (800) 458-2772. Other resources that focus on revival and that would
be especially helpful to leaders include Fresh Encounter by Henry and Richard Blackaby and Claude King and Downpour by James
MacDonald. Visit www.lifeway.com for more details. For more information and preaching helps on Cry Out America, go to

SOUTHERN BAPTIST’S DAY OF PRAYER: Return to Your First Love

“Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks; I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars: And hast borne, and hast patience, and for my name’s sake hast laboured, and hast not fainted. Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent. But this thou hast, that thou hatest the deeds of the Nicolaitanes, which I also hate. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.” (Revelaiton 2:1-7)

The resurrected and glorified Christ sent a message to the church in Ephesus in Revelation 2. He commended their hard work, their endurance, their intolerance of evil, their stand against false teachers, and  their patient endurance of hardships. But He had one thing against them: they had abandoned their first love for Him. What is the condition of your love for your Savior and Lord?

Jesus gave His disciples a guide by which to measure their love. He said, “If you love Me, you will keep My commands. The one who doesn’t love Me will not keep My words” (John 14:15,24, HCSB). Obedience to God’s commands is the best measure of your love for Him.

If God measured your love by that standard, what would He conclude   about your first love for Christ? Check one.

□ I love Him, because I faithfully obey His commands.

□ My love for Him isn’t what it needs to be, because I do not always obey   His commands.

□ I don’t love Him much, because I frequently fail to obey His commands.

I’m afraid most of us would have to check b or c, and we would receive the same message from Christ that Ephesus did: “You have abandoned the love you had at first” (Revelation 2:4, HCSB). If that is true of you, you can respond the way Christ commanded the Ephesians: remember, repent, and obey. Consecrate yourself by returning to your first love.

Take time to remember; then repent and obey. Write a journal entry for the   following on separate paper and share it with others.

Recall your salvation. What did Jesus save you from? How much has He   forgiven you? How is your life different because of Christ? What good   things has the Lord done for you?

Reflect on times when you have walked more closely with God. How have   you experienced His love and nearness more deeply than you do now?

Think about Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross, on which He clearly   demonstrated His love for you.

Recall the ways and times you have walked in victory over sin and in   obedience to Christ. Repent and do those things again. Return to your   first love for Christ.

SOUTHERN BAPTIST’S DAY OF PRAYER: Prepare Yourself

Have you experienced or observed a disaster or catastrophe that caused you to weep, mourn, wail, grieve, or despair—one so great that you will describe it to your children and grandchildren? Circle any you have experienced or observed up close or write another:

CRIME, DROUGHT, EARTHQUAKE, EPIDEMIC, FINANCIAL COLLAPSE,  FLOOD, HAILSTORM, HURRICANE, OIL SPILL, PLAGUE, RIOTS,  SHATTERED RELATIONSHIPS, TERRORIST  ATTACK, TORNADO, TSUNAMI,  VOLCANO, WAR, WILDFIRE

Crises are appropriate times to gather with God’s people for sacred assemblies, just as they did in Joel’s day. But actually, God wants us to celebrate sacred assemblies in such a way that we never stray far away from Him. These assemblies can be times of renewal, worship, festival, and rejoicing. Any time we gather to meet with God is a sacred assembly. If we do the ongoing spiritual work required by the Lord, we will not need an emergency sacred assembly as the people did in Joel’s day.

God wanted the people to prepare themselves to meet with Him in Joel’s day, so He commanded, “Consecrate the assembly” (Joel 2:16, NIV). We see a similar command in Exodus 19 when God explained to Moses that He was coming down on Mount Sinai to give the Ten Commandments: “The LORD said to Moses, ‘Go to the people and conse-crate them’ ” (Exodus 19:10, NIV). Consecrating God’s people is an important action for a spiritual leader to undertake when preparing them to meet with God or to renew their covenant relationship with Him.

In both Joel and Exodus, the Hebrew word for consecrate means to make clean; to purify; to sanctify or to set apart from the common, profane, or unholy.

✍ Read again the definition of consecrate above and write a brief definition   in your own words.

Moses required the people to wash their clothes and abstain from sexual relations. Though being physically clean can be valuable, moral, mental, and spiritual cleansing is the more important preparatory task.

Pause to think about the kind of cleansing you may need morally,   mentally, and spiritually to be prepared to meet with God.

Another concept expressed by the word consecrate comes from the combination of two different Hebrew words. Together they can mean to fill the open hand. Here’s the idea. Imagine a priest standing beside the altar in the temple with his hands open to receive an offering from you. Once you place your offering into the priest’s hands, it is consecrated to God. It is dedicated to Him for His purposes. It no longer belongs to you but to God. It is holy because God is holy.

As you think about your need to be consecrated, keep this idea of consecration in mind also. Paul wrote to the church in Rome, “Brothers, by the mercies of God, I urge you to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1, HCSB).

Imagine Jesus Christ seated on His throne with open hands to receive your life as an offering, a sacrifice, one that is holy and pleasing to Him.

Which of the following words best describes the kind of life offering you want to  bring to your Lord and King, Jesus Christ? Place a check beside those words.

□ arrogant □ clean □ evil □ holy □ humble □ immoral □ impure □ loving

□ obedient □ pure □ selfish □ ungodly □ wicked □ surrendered □ faithful

If you avoided words like arrogant, immoral, impure, selfish, evil, ungodly, and wicked and checked most of the others, you have the right desire for a consecrated life. This week I want to help you prepare your life to be an offering like that—one that will be pleasing to Christ.

God desires a consecrated people. Will you agree to work through this   consecration process this week so your life will be a pleasing offering to   Him?

□   Yes, I want my life to be pleasing and useful to the Lord.

□   No, I have no interest in pleasing the Lord or giving myself to Him.

□   Allow me to think about it. That’s a serious decision, isn’t it?

❋ PRAY to Christ about your desire and willingness to present your life to Him as a living sacrifice that is holy and pleasing to Him. If you are hesitant, invite the Lord to reveal to you the benefits and importance of a consecrated life.

❋ PRAY And ask the Lord to help you prepare this week so you will be ready to assemble with other believers as a people who are holy and dedicated to the Lord.