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First15: What is a devotional?

First15 on January 3: What is devotional?Scripture: "Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!" Psalm 103:1

Devotional: The devotional section of the First15 began with the idea that there needs to be a daily resource for Christians made to stir their desires and affections for God. This devotional exists to serve that purpose. There are tons of devotionals out there, so many of which are incredible. There is a seemingly limitless amount of incredible teaching available today. My hope is that the First15 would be a place where you know you can daily encounter the heart of God, be filled with a desire to know him more, and engage culture with the transforming power of the gospel. In order to live out what the Bible outlines as a Christian life, you must be consistently encountering God and "be being filled" with his Spirit (Ephesians 5:18).

The Bible describes someone who is able to receive all that God has to offer as a person with "good soil." Matthew 13:23 states, "as for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty." You are designed to yield incredible fruit. But the Bible says that in order to yield that kind of fruit you must have good soil. How incredible it is that God designed the earth in such a way as to reflect spiritual truth!

So how do you have good soil? Well 1 John 4:19 states, "we love because he first loved us." To have good soil you must begin with receiving God's love. You have an enemy working tirelessly to convince you that God doesn't love you as much as he truly does. All of us believe that lie to some extent. You may be surprised when you honestly look at how deeply you encounter God's love on a daily basis. Analyze your own thoughts and beliefs about the depth of his love for you. Do your thoughts line up with his word? Examine your finances, time and relationships. Are they a perfect reflection of the love God has for you? Do they exemplify a person walking in the fullness of God's love? Of course not! Each day God wants to reveal his love for you in new and transforming ways!

The First15 is created for that purpose alone. It exists to reflect the love that God has for you and guide you in encountering the God who created you and longs for relationship with you. Begin each day encountering God's love, and you will feel your heart softening to his voice, his leading and his truth. Your life will be transformed as you encounter God's love. Trivial things that seemed to matter before will no longer matter. Things that seemed to steal your joy, purpose and life on a regular basis will no longer have a hold on you. God's love is powerful and real. His desire is for you. He longs for you. Take the next few minutes to open your heart and mind to receive how deep and wide God's love is for you.

Worship: "10,000 Reasons (Bless the Lord)" by Matt Redman


Guided Prayer:

1. Ask the Holy Spirit to show you God's love for you. The Bible says that God is spirit. Encountering him is perfectly real, but it is a spiritual revelation. If you are a Christian you have the Spirit as your Helper. He will show you how God feels about you if you open you heart to receive.

2. Meditate on this scripture as an example of God's love and mercy.
Meditating on scripture is a powerful tool in receiving God's love.

"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name! Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." Psalm 103:1-5

3. Take a little time to write down how you feel after encountering God's love.
Recording what God is doing in your life is a powerful tool in abiding in God's love.

Remembering that God is good and full of love in order to combat the enemy attempting to lead you away from spending time with God. The Bible says that faith comes from hearing the word of God. That can be from the Bible or something he speaks directly to you that aligns with the Bible. Paul teaches us in Ephesians 6 to put on the armor of God. This isn't something that God does for you, it's something he equips you to do yourself! A huge part of putting on the armor of God is knowing and remembering what God's word says about you and the world around you. My prayer is as you encounter God's heart in his word and directly from the Holy Spirit that you would be equipped to put on his armor and remain in his perfect will for you every day.

Extended Reading: Psalm 103



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