Day Thirty: First Love

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – February 5, 2018

Day Thirty: First Love

 1 John 4:19, We love because he FIRST loved us.

We didn’t love God first. We are FIRST loved by God. Our first step to knowing true love is to allow God to love us. We receive His love by accepting His “love gift”, Jesus Christ His Son. Any other effort to fill our hearts will fall short.

A paraphrased quote from one of Blaise Pascal’s writings illustrates the point, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in the heart of every person, and it can cross sunnever be filled by any created thing. It can only be filled by God, made known through Jesus Christ.” (Actual quote found on page 75 of Blaise Pascal’s Pensees, New York; Penguin Books, 1966).

When our relationship with God is strong we are more confident in His love for us. The more we rely on God’s love we are less to feel insecure about ourselves. This is SO important, not because we need to feel better about ourselves, but because we need to be free to show other people the love that God has given to us.

Ravi Zacharias said, “The love of God shows us that God alone bridges the distance between him and us, enabling us to see this world through Calvary.” When we are confident in God’s love toward us, we can see the people in our life as God sees them. God wants us to see the people in our life through the eyes of His love.

Loving God first.

  • How we love others will demonstrate how we love God. (1 John 4:20)
  • Loving God first will eliminate insecurities, jealousy or other selfish feelings that inhibit us from showing God’s love.

 You will be free to give compliments, celebrate others on to their success, show kindness to people who are rude to you, always speak well of people, never repeat someones weakness to others.

  • When you love God first you will love others best.

God will fill you with His love. This will allow you to love people from His love in you. You cannot give people what you do not possess.

Your spouse, your children, your friends, your students, your team, your coworkers, and your community need you to put priority on loving God first.

We can help people find God’s love through our acts of love. First love God and BE the love to others.

heart hands sun


REFLECT:

What is God revealing about Himself through this scripture?

What do you hear God saying to you in this scripture?

How does this apply to your life?

Rephrase this scripture to a personal prayer for you. Give God thanks for how He is revealing Himself through this scripture. Request His help.

For further encouragement about God’s love and “Being” God’s love, you can listen to Newspring “Love” message series at newspringlive.com/watch-read/media

Love heart

Day Twenty-Three: Stretched But Not Strained

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – January 29, 2018

Day Twenty-Three: Stretched But Not Strained

Psalm 16:11, You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Stretch Incredible Hulk

I received one of my most favorite and memorable gifts Christmas morning
1979. The Stretch Incredible Hulk! Not only was it cool because it reminded me of my favorite TV show. This toy was begging this 7-year-old to test the limits of how far its arms and legs could be stretched. No matter how far I stretched the arms and legs of this Hulk, they would always go right back to its original form.

What’s Inside?

For those of us who have curious minds, we are thinking, “What’s inside?” Whatever they filled this toy Hulk with, it was durable and “almost” survived a 7-year-old.

Our circumstances, battles and tests of life will stretch us. Sometimes it feels like we are being stretched to the limit. But when we begin to take inventory of what is inside of us, we realize God is helping us to be resilient. What’s inside will determine our resilience. Bad attitude, hatefulness, grouchiness doubt and fear is not fruit that comes from the Holy Spirit. Being full of that type of attitude and mindset will cause us to be stretched out of place and possibly pulled apart. What’s inside us will help us not be “bent out of shape” for long periods of time. We know how to come back to our original form. A disposition of faith.

Be filled with joy.

Prayer and praise is so important, because it brings us into the presence of God. When we are in His presence He promises to fill us with joy (Psalms Joy16:11).

Psalms 28:7, “The LORD is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.”

Nehemiah 8:10b, “This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

Joy makes you resilient. Joy gives you strength for the battle. Prayer and praise will keep your perspective right and will bring you joy.

Protect your joy. Don’t let it slip far from you. When you are filled with joy it builds you up so you can withstand the pressures from what’s around you.

The heat will not break you down.

Our battles will turn up the heat in our life. The heat will try to break you down on the inside. But if we are filled with good substance, we will not be easily melted by the battle.

  • Tin will melt at 449 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Silver will melt at 1763 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • BUT it takes 1948 degrees Fahrenheit to melt GOLD.

When God allows a greater battle, He has something GREAT to bring out of you.

God never allows us to go through tests without a plan and reason. He will never let a battle go wasted. If God allows the battle, He will not only fill you so you can withstand the stretching and pressure, He will bring something great out of it. Promotion comes through the pain and sacrifice.

“Don’t let pressure change you” is a post I shared about God being our Rock. Take a moment to click the link and let it encourage you to stand strong.

The pressure on the inside must be greater than the pressure on the outside. You are filled with “God-Stuff” and  He is very resilient.

1 John 4:4 You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.

sunset on water


REFLECT:

What is God revealing about Himself through this scripture?

What do you hear God saying to you in this scripture?

How does this apply to your life?

Rephrase this scripture to a personal prayer for you. Give God thanks for how He is revealing Himself through this scripture. Request His help.

For further encouragement about prayer and hearing God’s voice, you can listen to Newspring “Frequency” sermon series at newspringlive.com/watch-read/media

frequency hearing God sermon series

Day Twenty-One: Don’t Allow Pressure To Change You

40 days of prayer devotion

Day Twenty-One: Don’t Allow Pressure To Change You

by David Shannon Wooten – January 27, 2018

Psalm 62:6, Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will not be shaken.”

The story, whether truth or just legend illustrates a good point. During the French Revolution the populace was enraged with the tyranny from royalty. King Louis XVI and the queen was escorted to the guillotine in the public square and was beheaded.

A violent mob demanded the same for the prince. The 6-year-old prince was terrified, as the enraged mob screamed, “Kill all royalty! Death to the prince!”

Someone in the crowd shouted, “Don’t kill him. You will only send his soul to heaven. That’s too good for royalty! Turn him over to Meg, the old witch. She’ll teach him to steal, to lie, to be profane. He’ll roam the streets as a corrupt beggar, and when he dies his soul will go to hell. That’s what royalty deserves!”

They turned the prince over to old Meg the witch. Trying to corrupt his heart and mind, she tried to teach him to be profane. But every time the old witch demanded he speak profanity, the prince would clench his fists and stomp his feet and declare, “I will not say it! I will not say those words! I was born to be a king and I will not talk and think that way! I’m a king and I will think, talk and act like a king!”

Don’t allow the enemy to strip you.

Your enemy will do his best to strip you of your identity in Christ. He will pressure you to think opposite of what God thinks about you and His purpose for you. He will use situations, feelings, critics, failures, whatever he can to get you to forget what God has declared about you.

Your identity is set.

Christ has settled who we are in Ephesians 1:1-10. We didn’t accomplish these things. This is Christ’s wonderful gifts to us through Salvation:

  • He has blessed you (V. 3).
  • He chose you (V. 4). – He chose you before you were born.
  • He predestined you (V. 5). – He has a good plan for your life.
  • He has freely given to you (v. 6). – You cannot earn grace.
  • He has redeemed you (V. 7) –  Your penalty of your sin is paid in full.
  • He has lavished on you wisdom and understanding (V. 8). – You are fully equipped for abundant life.
  • He made known to you the mystery of His will (V. 9) – His will for your life is not hidden from you.

Pressure to change. 

Pressure from situations can help shape you to be more like Christ. The pressure can deepen you faith and understanding of who God is as you stay steadfast on His Word. But be aware that satan desires to use the pressure for the total opposite purpose. If there is to be any change in your faith and identity from pressure, the result should be stronger faith and moving you closer to Christ. Not the opposite.

Don’t listen to the lies of the enemy. Don’t allow the pressure of situations change your mind about what God has declared over you. Clinch your fists, lock your focus in to God’s Words. He is your ROCK!

Don't allow the pressure to change you.


REFLECT:

What is God revealing about Himself through this scripture?

What do you hear God saying to you in this scripture?

How does this apply to your life?

Rephrase this scripture to a personal prayer for you. Give God thanks for how He is revealing Himself through this scripture. Request His help.

For further encouragement about prayer and hearing God’s voice, you can listen to Newspring “Frequency” sermon series at newspringlive.com/watch-read/media

frequency hearing God sermon series

Day Twelve: God’s Voice Will Direct You

Day Twelve: God’s Voice Will Direct You

by David Shannon Wooten – January 18, 2018

Isaiah 30:21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.

Prayer is not a monolog. It is amazing, not only can we express our thankfulness and need to God, we also are able to close our mouths and open the ears of our heart to hear what He has to say to us. When God speaks, He gives direction. His direction will keep us on the path that leads to life. God will give instruction that will  lead us to breakthroughs. His words give wisdom and always lead to life.

There are many ways that God chooses to speak to us. One of the main ways you can hear God’s voice is through His Word. His Word is alive, creates action and gives discernment. God’s voice is in His Word and it provides direction for the season that we are in.

Hebrews 4:12, “For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.”

God’s heart is to give you the direction you need. You can hear His voice in His Word. Take a moment to reflect on what He is saying to you.

He sent His Word and…
  • It healed us. Psalm 107:20
  • It delivered us. Psalm 107:20
  • It brought Salvation to humanity. Mark 16:15
  •  It transformed our mind, emotions and heart. Romans 12:2
  • It washed and made us clean. Ephesians 5:26
  • It gave us an entire new and better way to live. 2 Corinthians 5:17
  • It increased our faith. Romans 10:17
  • It gave renewed strength. Isaiah 40:31
  •  It nourished us. John 6:35
  •  It became a sword to defeat our enemy. Ephesians 6:17
  • It brought us a 100-fold harvest. Luke 8:15

Whoever has ears, let them hear the voice of God (Mark 4:9).


REFLECT:

What is God revealing about Himself through this scripture?

What do you hear God saying to you in this scripture?

How does this apply to your life?

Rephrase this scripture to a personal prayer for you. Give God thanks for how He is revealing Himself through this scripture. Request His help.

For further encouragement about prayer and hearing God’s voice, you can listen to Newspring “Frequency” sermon series at newspringlive.com/watch-read/media

Day Ten: Grow Exactly What You Want In Your Heart

Day Ten: Grow Exactly What You Want In Your Heart

by David Shannon Wooten – January 16, 2018

Ephesians 3:17, “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong.

It takes some level of discipline to keep our bodies healthy. Saying “no” and resisting our desires to over-eat or eating too much of the wrong kind of food will help us watch our weight and keep our bodies healthy. Making discipline choices about exercise will help keep our heart, muscles and joints healthy. Living by a budget, not spending more than we earn and sacrificing to pay off debt will eventually reduce stress and position us for a better future. We may not always like making disciplined decisions, but we do enjoy the results.

Our spiritual life requires the same kind of discipline. If we are going to have faith to believe God and resist the negative thoughts from satan, then we will have to spend time in God’s Word and in prayer. A regular routine of reading God’s Word and deciding to apply it to your life will not only produce the right things in your heart, it will produce incredible things in your life.

Consistent prayer, receiving wisdom and direction from God’s Word and making disciplined decisions will help us take control of what we allow to grow in our heart.


REFLECT:

What is God revealing about Himself through this scripture?

What do you hear God saying to you in this scripture?

How does this apply to your life?

Rephrase this scripture to a personal prayer for you. Give God thanks for how He is revealing Himself through this scripture. Request His help.

For further encouragement about prayer and hearing God’s voice, you can listen to Newspring “Frequency” sermon series at newspringlive.com/watch-read/media

Day Nine: Tuning Your Heart To Hear

Day Nine: Tuning Your Heart To Hear

by David Shannon Wooten – January 15, 2018

Mark 4:23-24, “If anyone has ears to hear, let them hear.” “Consider carefully what you hear,” he continued. “With the measure you use, it will be measured to you—and even more.

Jesus said, “the same measure you use” will be the measure used to bring a return back to you and “even more”. When we decide to earnestly take God’s Word to heart and understand it, we will see His Word activated with powerful results. The key is to “carefully consider” what you hear. To see with the mind’s eye, to discern and perceive. It doesn’t come natural for us to exercise this kind of concentration on someone’s words. When someone is talking our mind tends to wander and other thoughts flood our mind. Sometimes we begin to draw conclusions or begin to think about what we are going to say back to the person who is speaking. Jesus promises us when we set out to comprehend His word, something powerful is going to happen in our lives.

There are many frequencies in our world. Words, ideas, conversations, advertisements and even satan’s voice are all competing for your ears. Anything that distracts us from hearing God’s voice is “noise pollution“. It is possible to practice tuning the ears of our heart to the voice of God. The more you practice tuning-in to God, the more you can discern which voice to allow in your heart and which voice to remove.

“In this world, there will be many frequencies, practice tuning your heart to the frequency of God’s voice.”


REFLECT:

What is God revealing about Himself through this scripture?

What do you hear God saying to you in this scripture?

How does this apply to your life?

Rephrase this scripture to a personal prayer for you. Give God thanks for how He is revealing Himself through this scripture. Request His help.

For further encouragement about prayer and hearing God’s voice, you can listen to Newspring “Frequency” sermon series at newspringlive.com/watch-read/media

Day Eight: The Voice of God Falling On Good Soil

Day Eight: The Voice of God Falling On Good Soil

by David Shannon Wooten – January 14, 2018

Luke 8:8, “Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up and yielded a crop, a hundred times more than was sown.” When he said this, he called out, “Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear.”

Prayer prepares and positions your heart to hear God’s voice. Our heart determines how God’s words will produce in our life. Seed has the power to produce. The soil has the potential. If there’s a problem in the harvest, the problem isn’t with the seed. The problem is within the soil. God doesn’t have a speaking problem, we sometimes have a hearing problem. Prayer and our choices can prepare our heart as good soil to receive the seed of God’s Word. When we take God’s word in to our heart it has the power to produce supernatural results. What may be a limitation in the natural, when God’s Word is applied it produces supernatural results in our life. This is why the enemy wants to keep your heart contaminated, unfocused and deserted. He knows the potential of God’s Word sown in the heart of the one who is ready to believe.


REFLECT:

What is God revealing about Himself through this scripture?

What do you hear God saying to you in this scripture?

How does this apply to your life?

Rephrase this scripture to a personal prayer for you. Give God thanks for how He is revealing Himself through this scripture. Request His help.

For further encouragement about prayer and hearing God’s voice, you can listen to Newspring “Frequency” sermon series at newspringlive.com/watch-read/media

Day Six: You Are Planted Not Buried

Day Six: You Are Planted Not Buried

by David Shannon Wooten – January 12, 2018

God’s growth plan has a mixture of seasons that consist of darkness, sunshine, rain, cold and warm days. You don’t have to be confused about the season when you know you are in God’s care. I remember going through a dark season and thoughts from the enemy flooded my mind. I thought I had seen my best days. Fear came over me about my health and future. I thought I would forever be stuck in certain situations and would never see a breakthrough.  God reminded me that the dark season was just a growing season for me. God was helping  my “roots of faith” to grow deeper and stronger. He assured me, that I wasn’t going to face devastation with these overwhelming feelings of being buried. God reminded me, He planted me and that new life would soon come. I began to say to myself,

“My enemy told me this season of darkness would bury me. God told me I’m not buried, I’m actually planted. This season will pass and life will come again”.

God wants to remind you that He has you in His hand. He is the “Author and Finisher” of your faith (Hebrews 12:2). The good work He began in you, He will complete (Philippians 1:6). A season of life and fruitfulness will soon come again (John 10:10).

John 12:24, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.”


REFLECT:

What is God revealing about Himself through this scripture?

What do you hear God saying to you in this scripture?

How does this apply to your life?

Rephrase this scripture to a personal prayer for you. Give God thanks for how He is revealing Himself through this scripture. Request His help.

For further encouragement about prayer and hearing God’s voice, you can listen to Newspring “Frequency” sermon series at newspringlive.com/watch-read/media

Day Five: God Rewards When You Do What Is Right

Day Five: God Rewards When You Do What Is Right

by David Shannon Wooten – January 11, 2018

Always do the right thing and things will eventually turn out right. If we listen, the Holy Spirit will always lead us to the right choice. As you spend time in prayer the Holy Spirit will shine His light on the right path. He helps you discern  what your flesh is desiring and what you should be desiring to bring the right result in your life. Sometimes we want revenge, return unkindness or gossip when someone has wronged us. The Holy Spirit will prompt our heart to remain silent, forgive and pray for them. God promises eventually good things will come your way when you are willing to walk in the right path with God. Your integrity and character is important to God. What you do in private, God will reward in public.

John 16:13 But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. 
Isaiah 1:19 If you are willing and obedient, you will eat the good things of the land;

“God rewards when you do what is right”


REFLECT:

What is God revealing about Himself through this scripture?

What do you hear God saying to you in this scripture?

How does this apply to your life?

Rephrase this scripture to a personal prayer for you. Give God thanks for how He is revealing Himself through this scripture. Request His help.

For further encouragement about prayer and hearing God’s voice, you can listen to Newspring “Frequency” sermon series at newspringlive.com/watch-read/media

Day Three: Your Connection To Christ Produces Life

Day Three: Your Connection To Christ Produces Life

by David Shannon Wooten – January 9, 2018

We are designed for connection. A leaf stays green as it stays connected to the branch. The branch stays alive and healthy as it stays connected to the main trunk. We remain fruitful, focused and fulfilled as we stay connected to Jesus Christ. Our connection to Christ is when we are faithful to His Word and through prayer. If we fail to eat food and drink water our bodies will die. Without spiritual food, the Word of God and prayer, our spirit will die. We are more spirit than we are flesh. Our bodies will eventually die. However, our spirit will live for eternity. We are not a human having a spiritual experience. We are a spirit having a human experience. Understanding this insight will help us prioritize our connection to Christ. Your connection to Christ will allow you to experience abundant life in every area of your life.

John 15:5-8 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. 8This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.


REFLECT:

What is God revealing about Himself through this scripture?

What do you hear God saying to you in this scripture?

How does this apply to your life?

Rephrase this scripture to a personal prayer for you. Give God thanks for how He is revealing Himself through this scripture. Request His help.

For further encouragement about prayer and hearing God’s voice, you can listen to Newspring “Frequency” sermon series at newspringlive.com/watch-read/media