Day Thirty-Seven: Sometimes Love Is What You Don’t Say

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – February 12, 2018

Day Thirty-Seven: Sometimes Love Is What You Don’t Say

Proverbs 15:4, “Kind words bring life, but cruel words crush your spirit.”

We should always be truthful, but never at the cost of being rude or inconsiderate of other people’s feelings. Rudeness is selfish and prideful. Being overly critical and blunt will wound the soul and possibly crush someone’s spirit.

man couple people woman boxing

One characteristic of love is expressing words. The words we choose will either encourage or discourage. Build up or teardown. Heal or crush.

Charlotte Mortimer shared her experience in a class project about writing words of love. “The teacher in our adult-education creative-writing class told us to write ‘I love you’ in 25 words or less, without using the words ‘I love you.’ She gave us 15 minutes. A woman in the class spent about ten minutes looking at the ceiling and wriggling in her seat. The last five minutes she wrote frantically, and later read us the results:

‘Why, I’ve seen lots worse haridos than that, honey.’

‘These cookies are hardly burned at all.

‘Cuddle up-I’ll get your feet warm.’”

(Charlotte Mortimer, in February 1990 Reader’s Digest.)

Please allow me to be honest. After reading this list, I believe my wife, Bonnie could rewrite several sentences that I have rudely stated to her in 25 years of marriage. I’m reminded that “love is not rude” (1 Corinthians 13:5). However, I have seen the error of my ways. I realize that love can be expressed by choosing the right words.

Love speaks louder, because love speaks life.

Choosing to be blunt may come more natural for some than others. This is where we rely on the new life and the new creation that God places within us when we receive Jesus Christ. The new nature has come and the old nature is gone (2 Corinthians 5:17). Yes, it does take effort. We pause before we speak. We demonstrate love by articulating in a way that is kind, thoughtful and encouraging. The Bible tells us we have the ability to speak life. “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit” (Proverbs 18:21).

People who love are “life-givers”. Love speaks louder, because love speaks life. Your kind words are actions of love.

tulips on board


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-Two: Love Broke Through

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – February 7, 2018

Day Thirty-Two: Love Broke Through

Luke 19:10, “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost.”

I love Toby Mac’s song,

When Love Broke Thru”. His lyrics resonate with me,

Verse 2,

“I did all that I could to undo me
But You loved me enough to pursue me
Yeah, You drew me out of the shadows
Made me believe that I mattered, to You, You”

Chorus:

“When love broke through
You found me in the darkness
Wanderin’ through the desert
I was a hopeless fool
Now I’m hopelessly devoted
My chains are broken
And it all began with You
When love broke through
And it all began with You
When love broke through”

(If you would like you can watch and listen here)

Love pursues.

What is so awesome about God is, He IS love. He is the very essence of love. His love looks like pursuing people. Love pursues. Love finds what is lost. Love goes after the broken and offers healing. Love makes people feel like they are valuable and that they matter.

Jesus illustrated this “love pursuit” with the woman who lost a coin (Luke 15:8-10). She has nine more, so what’s the big deal? How many coins do you find on the street that people dropped and didn’t bother to pick it up? But to this woman every coin mattered to her. She would not stop the pursuit until she found the lost coin.

Love breaks through.

Every person matters to God. He will not stop His pursuit until they are found, restored and healed. People need breakthroughs. Breakthroughs can be traced back to actions of love.

Think about the breakthroughs you have experienced in life. Someone was willing to pursue you and share Christ with you. Someone loved you enough to pray with you until you experienced a breakthrough. Someone opened their heart and met a need in your life. God pursues because He loves. And He moves the heart of His people to do the same. When we love, we pursue and love breaks through.


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: 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-Nine: This Is Unstoppable Love

40 days of prayer devotion

by David Shannon Wooten – February 4, 2018

Day Twenty-Nine: This Is Unstoppable Love

Romans 5:8, But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.

The purest form of giving out of love is giving without expecting anything in return. Giving when it’s not deserved. Giving something that really means a lot to you. I’m sure you have given under similar circumstances. You gave something, because you simply loved. Have you ever not given, because you didn’t think the person would appreciate it? I’ll be honest, I have refrained from giving for that exact reason.

The real definition and standard for love.

God wants us to experience forgiveness and eternal life, He doesn’t just tell uslove stones He loves us. He “showed” His love by giving us His Son, Jesus. This is the kind of GREAT love God is demonstrating to you…

  1. God gave “while we were still sinners”. He gave you Jesus when you were not worthy.
  2. God gave without expecting anything in return. He didn’t wait until He knew for sure you would appreciate and receive Jesus.
  3. God gave His most valuable gift to you. His only Son, Jesus.

God has defined and set the standard for the purest form of love. This is the level of love that is unstoppable in its power to transform the individual heart and humanity. This kind of love spreads like wild fire that can cover families, communities, cities and countries.

When God’s love is accepted and received, Christ comes in to our heart and begins to reset the definition and standard of love in our own life. Because of Christ in us, we are able to give love like God loves.

What if everyone gave love…

  • whether people were worthy of our love or not?
  • even if people did not appreciate or accept our demonstration of love?
  • sacrificially? Gifts that mean something to us.

Unstoppable love started with God. His desire is to see His kind of love cover the entire world. This is the whole point of God sending His Son. He loved the world and wants to reach all humanity with His love. This will only happen as we demonstrate the love that has been given to us. We will be able to love at a higher level when we truly are confident of how God loves us. (1 John 4:9-20)

Heart beach ocean sunset


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

Eighteen: You’re Coming Out With A Reward

Day Eighteen: You’re Coming Out With A Reward

by David Shannon Wooten – January 24, 2018

Job 23:10-11 But he knows the way that I take; when he has tested me, I will come forth as gold. 11My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.

What Job was experiencing was beyond a bad “hair” day. He was going through one of the worst seasons of his life. His body was covered in boils, sitting in a garbage heap and he lost everything. Even his “friends” were so critical of his situation. Job is on his knees in prayer, needing encouragement and instead of a pat on the back, the best his friends could do was give him a kick in the mouth.

Through all of this Job eventually comes out of his trial with a reward. God restored to him double of what he had lost (Job 42:10). Job’s statement of faith gives us insight to Job’s ability to not only survive through this horrific season of suffering, but come out with an incredible blessing. Prayerfully look at the principle and key to Job’s breakthrough.

Job’s Statement of Faith

  1. “God knows exactly what I’m going through”. God is never surprised. He knows everything. God has redeemed your past. He is actively involved in your present. He is setting up your future.
  2. “God is testing me”. My suffering, my trial is a test. I’m not in the devil’s hands, I’m in God’s hands. I refuse to give the devil glory. He is not in control of this trial. God is in control.
  3. “God WILL bring me out and WILL reward me”. He always rewards after the test. “And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Hebrews 11:6). Gold does not become valuable until it is mined out of the ground and placed in the furnace for the process of removing impurities. God knows how to dig deep to bring the value out of us. He knows how to remove what may be hindering us for the next level of blessing.

Job places high value on his faithfulness to continually follow and believe God, regardless of his suffering and loss (verse 11). He knew God would restore and reward. Let your statement of faith declare, your worst test will become your biggest blessing.


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 Fifteen: The Voice You Give Ear To Will Lead You

Day Fifteen: The Voice You Give Ear To Will Lead You

By David Shannon Wooten – January 21, 2018

John 10:3 The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.

The voices we choose to listen to has the potential to lead us. Voices can affect our feelings. Voices can change our mind. They can break our focus. Voices can sow a seed of hurt or bitterness. Voices can sway our beliefs. In a subtle way, they can lead us down the wrong path.

Jesus illustrates the importance of tuning our ear to His voice. His voice will always lead us to the right things for our life. The illustration Jesus used in John 10, is the same description in Psalm 23. The Shepherd leads His flock in a very personal way. “He calls his own sheep by name…” (John 10:3). Jesus’ passion is to personally speak to us and lead us. His voice will lead us through doors that He has opened for us. We can be assured there will be good things beyond the doors He opens for us.

Jesus will lead you through the door of blessing.

  • “He leads me beside peaceful streams”. (Psalm 23:2b)
  • “He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake”. (Psalm 23:3b)
  • Show me the right path, O LORD; point out the road for me to follow. Lead me by your truth and teach me, for you are the God who saves me. All day long I put my hope in you”. (Psalm 25:4-5)
  • “You are my rock and my fortress. For the honor of your name, lead me out of this danger”. (Psalm 31:3)
  • “Teach me to do your will, for you are my God; may your good Spirit lead me on level ground”. (Psalm 143:10)

The most important voice in your life is the voice of your Shepherd. His voice will shape your mind, heart and influence your emotions. The voice of darkness will lead you to disaster. Jesus will always lead us to a life full of blessings. Jesus has already opened the right doors for you. Listen and let Him lead you to the blessings He has prepared for 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 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

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