Day Forty: A Revival of Love

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – February 15, 2018

Day Forty: A Revival of Love

1 Peter 3:8-10: “Finally, be all of one mind, be loving toward one another, be gracious, and be kind. Do not repay evil for evil, or curse for curse, but on the contrary, bless, knowing that to this you are called, so that you may receive a blessing. For ‘He who would love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil, and his lips from speaking deceit.'”

There are a lot of great people in the world. I have been so blessed to have met some of the most caring, loving people over the years. People who have prayed for me when I was going through struggles. Some have given their support when others would not.  People who gave out of love or appreciation.

I have also met some really mean people who probably were acting out of their own hurt, insecurities or maybe they just didn’t have a real change of heart and perspective on life. We see things in the news about evil acts of hatred, racism, injustices, bullying, political division and many other acts that are the opposite of love.

The power of love.

The only thing that will bring healing and attract people to Christ’s Salvation is when we demonstrate His love. Jesus said our love will stand out to the people around. John 13:35, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”

There is a common theme throughout God’s Word that instructs us to bless others. I really do love this because it gives us purpose. We are to be people who bless. The scripture in 1 Peter 3:8-10 declares that it is our calling. A calling to bless, a calling to love. A calling from God means we are empowered by His Spirit to love.

Awakened love.

A revival of love means God’s love can be awakened in us to a new level. We can see people as God sees people. The Holy Spirit will give us creativity and words of knowledge on how to show God’s love to people. When God’s love is revived within us, we begin to be sensitive to people’s needs around us.

Our acts of love will draw people to Christ more than our opinions or voicing our differences.

Completing the writing of a 40-days of prayer devotion has been a first for me. I knew it was going to be a commitment to write a devotion every day for 40 days straight. It was enjoyable sharing and we accomplished it! I want to thank my office administrator Amanda Wipperman for helping me give our Newspring congregation the opportunity to connect to these devotions. I pray these 40 days have been a blessing to you and God has spoke amazing things to your heart. Blessings!

water ocean sunset sunrise beach


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 Thirty-Four: The Love Test

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – February 9, 2018

Day Thirty-Four: The Love Test

Matthew 5:43-45a; 46; 48 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be children of your Father in heaven. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.”

One true test of how perfect our love is, is how we treat the people who despise us. Jack Hyles said, “You will never really love until you love someone who hates you.” It can be really difficult to love someone who has hurt you. Physically, emotionally or even verbally. How we handle the hurt can be a test in itself. But how we treat the person who has hurt us is a total different test. This is a test to evaluate the perfection or integrity of our love.

The test of love.

Rick Warren said, “God teaches us to love, by putting some unlovely people around us. It takes no character to love people who are lovely and loving to you.”  It is really easy to love people who have a sweet attitude or someone who is friendly and outgoing. But what about a person who has a hateful disposition? Someone who is bitter and mean-spirited? God may be placing people in your life for a reason. Consider that your love may need to be perfected. Practicing love in unloving situations will perfect your love. Also consider that these are the people who God wants them to experience His love through you. You may be a key to their breakthrough by your response of love toward them.

How to love your enemy.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a German pastor who suffered and was killed in Nazi Germany,  shared his thoughts on Matthew 5:44, “is the supreme demand in all of Scripture, to pray for your enemies.” He said, “By prayer, we go to our enemy’s side and we stand with him and plead for him to God.” You and I probably will not be “BFF’s” or “besties” with our enemies. But two things we can do to show the love of God:

#1. Don’t seek revenge. Don’t retaliate, hate in return or talk about them behind their back. Love speaks louder than hatefulness or revenge.

#2. Pray for them. This is what Jesus is commanding us to do, so our love will be perfect. This is loving like God loves.

The bonus for the reward (Matthew 5:46).

Jesus asked the question. “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get?” To take your love to an even higher level, let’s add a #3. Like on a test, you have a “bonus” question. This is the bonus for your reward:

#3.  Act of Love. For the one who has hurt you, do something nice in return. Give them a gift card or buy them a gift.

God loved us and gave us something we didn’t deserve. This is loving like God loves.

heart leaf 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-Seven: Detours and Delays part 2

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – February 2, 2018

Day Twenty-Seven: Detours and Delays part 2

Genesis 50:20, You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good. He brought me to this position so I could save the lives of many people.

Most of the time detours and delays come at a surprise. We normally don’t anticipate problems. They catch us off guard and always have the potential to discourage us. These setbacks can kill our faith and dreams. But if we keep our trust in God and include a “God-Perspective”, we will not lose hope.

Joseph had twice as many detours and delays than good days.Broken Heart

Consider Joseph how God gave him a dream but immediately he experienced a setback. God was showing Joseph that he would bless him, he would become a great leader and have great influence. But when Joseph shared his dream with his brothers, they hated him. Talking about starting out on the wrong foot. It’s a bad day when you share how God wants to bless you and people hate you in return.

The journey for Joseph to reach his dream was not an easy one. He faced several detours and delays before he ever fulfilled the dream. In fact, he had twice as many detours and delays than breakthroughs.

  • Sold into slavery (detour & delay).
  • Living in a strange country far from home (detour & delay).
  • Given favor in Potiphar’s house (breakthrough)
  • Falsely accused by Potiphar’s wife (detour & delay).
  • Thrown into prison (detour & delay).
  • Put in charge of all the prisoners (breakthrough).
  • Forgotten by the cupbearer (detour & delay).
  • Remained in prison two more years (detour & delay).
  • Became second in command in Egypt (breakthrough).

In the natural it appears Joseph is moving away from his dream. But as Joseph stated in Genesis 50:20, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it all for good.” Joseph had twice as many “bad days” as he did good. But he maintained his faith, because he had a “God-Perspective”.

Don’t waste your time adding up the days you are detoured or delayed. God uses a different formula to bring you to your breakthrough.

God will use your detours and delays to bring you to a good place.

In yesterday’s devotion, Detours and Delay’s Part 1, I listed a few people who accomplished great things, but did so by pushing through the bad days. To further illustrate this very important principle, here are a few more to add to our list:

THOMAS EDISON’s teachers told him he was “too stupid to learn anything.” Edison also famously invented 1,000 light bulbs before creating one that worked.

R.H. MACY had a history of failing at businesses, including a dud Macy’s in NYC. But Macy kept up the hard work and ended up with the biggest department store in the world.

STEVEN SPIELBERG was rejected from his dream school, the University of Southern California, three times. He sought out an education somewhere else and dropped out to be a director.

WALT DISNEY was fired by a newspaper editor because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Several more of his businesses failed before the premiere of his movie Snow White. Today, most children wouldn’t be the same without his ideas.

As you go through the bad days of detours and delays, keep the “God-Perspective”. Your enemy will want to use these setbacks to stop you. His goal is to distract you, weary you and drain your faith. Trust God with your detours and delays. He will bring you to a good place. 

Detours and delays. God knows how to get you to your breakthrough



 

 


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-Four: God Never Waste Tears

40 days of prayer devotion

Day Twenty-Four: God Never Waste Tears

by David Shannon Wooten – January 30, 2018

Psalm 56:8 You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. 

Every one of us can relate to tears associated with pain, disappointment, bad news, tragedy, loss and a broken heart. As we direct our tears in an effort to call out to our Heavenly Father, they are translated into a powerful prayer. Every mom and dad know how the tears of their children grip their heart. Compelling them to respond. We come running to see what we can do to help. Our Heavenly Father knows the sound and language of tears and they have His attention.

Your tears have a voice.

Crying

Each tear has its own voice and identity. We can be confident that our Heavenly Father will not let one tear be wasted. But with careful response He attentively collects and records them. He is promising that each tear will be remembered and a response will follow. God never does anything without a purpose. He will answer by bringing comfort, healing, restoration and resolution.

Someone said, “Tears are prayers too, they travel to God when we can’t speak.” You may be going through a season where you are not able to articulate the prayer. But your tears have a strong voice and God is listening.

Open your heart with your tears.

Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Tears come from the heart and not from the brain.” God loves when we open our heart and when we are transparent with Him. Maybe that’s why God loves our tears when we cry in faith, believing He is able and will answer.

If we must shed tears, let them be tears of faith that translate in to prayers. Knowing that God never wastes tears. He will answer.

Direct your tears as a prayer of faith.

Your tears directed to God demonstrate:

  • Confidence He sees what you are going through.
  • You believe He hears you.
  • He has the ability to do something about the situation.
  • He will bring something good out of the situation. (Romans 8:28

(To read Bold Prayers Out of Pain click this link)

In exchange for your tears.

Psalm 30:5b Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.

Jeremiah 31:13,  I will turn their mourning into joy. I will comfort them and exchange their sorrow for rejoicing.

Tears are never wasted


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 Nineteen: Knocked Down But Not Out

Day Nineteen: Knocked Down But Not Out

by David Shannon Wooten – January 25, 2018

2 Corinthians 4:8-9 We are pressed on every side by troubles, but we are not crushed. We are perplexed, but not driven to despair. 9We are hunted down, but never abandoned by God. We get knocked down, but we are not destroyed.

It is impossible to live without trouble or pain. Disappointments are inevitable. Pressure from situations can cause confusion. And there is a real spiritual enemy that desires to hunt you down and destroy your faith and purpose in God.

But God never leaves you without hope. He will not allow pressure to crush you. When your enemy is all up in your face, God is right there in his face. The battle may cause you to fall flat to the ground. You may be limping through your season, but God promises you that you will not be destroyed.

Don’t let the pressure take you out.

The Apostle Paul exemplifies how to go through stuff that knocks you down, but not allow it take you out.

  1. He doesn’t focus on his ability, but he puts confidence in the power of the risen Christ who is in him (verse 7). This is not only his focus, it is a declaration that comes out of his mouth.
  2. He protects his heart from getting weary (Verse 16). When we begin to lose heart, we become unfocused. Weariness will cause us to focus on the wrong things.
  3. He is determined to keep the right perspective (verse 17 &18). Paul clearly conveys wise perspective that these troubles are creating an eternal reward. He sees these troubles as a temporary nuisance because he sees the bigger picture. Our troubled seasons are a drop in the bucket compared to our entire lifetime. And our lifetime on this earth will be even less than the drop compared to eternity. What matters most is not a comfortable or a trouble-free life; it’s what was accomplished for eternity.

You are a Champion.

Paul understood what an athlete or a solider had to endure to be a champion.

  • Champions will focus on developing character not resumes. God cannot promote us beyond our character. Nothing develops our character more, than going through trouble and straining to keep the right focus and attitude.
  • Champions make decisions that create a desired future; not decisions that create a desired present.
  • Champions focus on HOW they go through hard-times rather than getting through hard-times.
  • Champions get up, not give up. Proverbs 24:16

You will get knocked down, but you don’t have to stay down. Get Up! Keep on! Embrace the power of your risen Christ who is in 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

Day Seventeen: Bold Prayers Out Of Pain

Day Seventeen: Bold Prayers Out of Pain

by David Shannon Wooten – January 23, 2018

1 Chronicles 4:10, Jabez cried out to the God of Israel, “Oh, that you would bless me and enlarge my territory! Let your hand be with me, and keep me from harm so that I will be free from pain.” And God granted his request.

I don’t believe Jabez prayed this bold prayer with the intent of being someone who desired to be self-indulgent and hoard his riches. Verse 9 informs us that Jabez was an honorable man. In fact, he was more honorable than his brothers. God believed that Jabez would honor Him, so He granted his prayer.

Maybe it was the pain and brokenness that Jabez experienced in his past, which fueled his passion to see God do more with his future. Pain and brokenness has a way of either paralyzing us or breaking us out of our comfort zone so we can believe God to do more with our life.

Don’t let a setback, pain, brokenness or failure paralyze your faith or keep you stuck. God wants you to believe Him for more. He wants you to ask Him to fulfill and reach your ultimate potential and purpose. You were created for God’s Glory. Don’t settle for less. If we are going to cry out from the pain, then let us cry out to God with a bold prayer.

Your Bold Prayer

You can use Jabez’s prayer as a pattern for your prayer.

Father I pray…

  • All of Your blessings will come in to my life. Everything You have purposed and designed for me, I welcome and receive them.
  • You will expand the gifts and abilities You have given to me. Let me reach my ultimate potential. Expand my influence for Your Glory. Accomplish your perfect will in my life. Hold nothing back.
  • Let me never move out from among Your Hand of blessing and protection.
  • Keep me from temptation and deliver me from evil. Protect me from the thief who desires to strip your blessings and joy. Allow me to experience the joy of your blessings and the abundant life You give.


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 Thirteen: You Make Things Brighter And Better

Day Thirteen: You Make Things Brighter And Better

by David Shannon Wooten – January 19, 2018

Matthew 5:13a-1613a“You are the salt of the earth… 14“You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

As a kid, I was roaming our 100-acre farm. I lost track of time and stayed out too late. The dusk quickly turned to darkness. I panicked for a moment because I didn’t know which way was home. But as I was searching, I spotted a light in the distance. I knew it was the light shining from our back porch. No matter how dark it was, as long as I could keep my eyes on the light, I had hope that I would soon be home.

These are the words that Jesus speak over you. “You are salt and light”. You make things brighter and better in a dark cold and tasteless world. If you listen to satan speak over you, he will always condemn and make you feel less than you are. God always speaks to the value He has placed within you. It is Christ in you who makes you valuable. When you walk in to a dark depressing situation, your light brings hope, faith and love. The people in your life are searching for hope. The light of God is so bright in you, you will help people find their way “home”.

“Value the light that God has shined on you and it will prompt you to shine the light on others.”


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

WHAT PEOPLE MEAN TO HARM YOU WITH, GOD WILL USE IT TO BRING YOU TO YOUR DESTINY

Can you imagine…

  • You are promised a leadership role and to be of great influence in your near future, but instead…
  • Your brothers are jealous of your potential and despise you to the point they conspire to take your life.
  • They throw you into a pit, fake your death and tell your father that you are dead.
  • Your brothers sell you as a slave. You are taken to a foreign country.
  • You are working for free and your boss’s wife accuses you that your tried to rape her and you go to prison for something you did not do.
  • You start helping people in prison. You end up helping the right person who can possibly redeem you. This person promises to remember you and get you out of prison. But they end up forgetting you.

Do setbacks sound familiar to you? People trying to hurt you? These events are exactly what happed to Joseph in the Bible.  You can read Joseph’s details in Genesis chapters 39 through 51. Joseph was despised and rejected by family, people lied about his integrity and character, he was overlooked for promotion, he served time for a crime he did not commit, but yet we read how Joseph seemed to have the right perspective and attitude throughout the entire process.

How we adjust our attitude toward people who try to hurt us and toward the setbacks in our life is so important to what comes next in our life.

We can try to get revenge, get even, allow bitterness to rob our joy and destroy our optimism. Or we can learn from Joseph and place priority on our integrity, perspective and attitude.

We may not be able to control what happens to us, but we have the power to control what happens IN us. Attitude and perspective positions us for a better outcome.

Jimmy Dean said, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”

Adjusting our “sails” toward the wind is adjusting the right attitude toward the wrong that people do against us. It’s adjusting the right perspective when circumstances do not go the way we expect them to. Our attitude and perspective determines which direction our life will sail.

Joseph made a statement that allows us to observe the foundation of his heart. Genesis 50:19-20, “But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” This is the rock solid foundation that allowed him to not crash and burn during those trying times, but rather position him to reach his purpose and destiny.

Like Joseph, we can choose to believe God has allowed us to go through trying times, but better days are coming. “I am in the place of God”. The hurtful things that people do, do not dictate our destiny. Remember, while Joseph was going through this process, God was still watching over Joseph and blessing him along the way. God blessed Joseph while working for free. God caused him to prosper (Genesis 39:3). While Joseph was in prison, God was with him, showed kindness and gave him favor with people (Genesis 39:20-21).

When God wants to favor you, NO ONE has the power to stop it.

  • God can take your destruction and turn it around and place you in your destiny.
  • God will use your setbacks and use them to “set you up” for greater things.
  • God can take the doors that have been slammed shut in your life and cover you with His favor to open greater doors.

What people mean to harm you with, God will use it for your good.