Quarter’s Theme: Discovering Spiritual Maturity
Unit 2 Theme: Practicing Spiritual Maturity Essentials (Lessons 4-9)
CONSECRATION & DEDICATION MONTHS
Sunday 4/1/ 2015
THE HABIT OF DAILY DEVOTION
Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 202, 203
Devotional Reading: PSALM 91
Topic For Adults
ALONE WITH GOD
Topic For Youths
DWELLING IN THE SECRET PLACE OF THE MOST HIGH
Topic For Intermediates
DEVOTION IS A MUST FOR YOU
JER 15:16; PS. 27:6-8; LK. 10:38-42; EPH. 4:17-32 MK. 1:35
“And He went up on the mountain and called to Him those He Himself wanted. And they came to Him. Then He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him”
(Mk. 3:13-14b) NKJV.
DAILY DEVOTIONAL READING
S.O.A.P. Of Devotion Time
S.O.A.P. is an acronym for what a devotion time should consist of. S is for Scriptures. Start your devotion time with reading the Scriptures as directed in your reading plan. Pray that God will speak to you from one verse or a few verses in the text you have read. O is for observation. Take time to ponder and meditate on the verse that was highlighted to you in the passage. As you meditate on the verse, God will point out the divine lesson from it. Jot down in your note the lesson which God is teaching you. A is for application. Do not just be a reader (hearer), plan how you will apply the lesson you have learnt from the verse. Be committed to applying the lesson in your life. Application makes the difference between hearing His will and doing His will. P stands for prayer. Pray on the study you have just had, asking God for the grace to put into practice the lesson.
Point of Emphasis: Be doers of the Word and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.
Prayer Point: Father, grant me the grace to be a doer of Your Word in Jesus’ name.
According to Wayne Cordeiro, the best way to disciple people is to teach them to do devotions. “The time is surely coming”, says the Sovereign LORD, “when I will send a famine on the land — not a famine of bread or water but of hearing the words of the LORD” – Amos 8:11 (NLT). A famine is sweeping across the land today…it’s even here in our Churches. It’s the worst famine imaginable, yet most of us do not realise it until too late. It’s the famine of God’s Word.
Have you ever heard people say this, “I am leaving, I am just not being fed here”. “I need a word from God and I am not getting it here”. “I am moving on to where there is green pasture”. “My needs and issues are not being addressed here”. “They don’t prophesy here and see visions”. These are the common slogans today. The problem is that people have contracted their feeding to “professionals” and they complain when their standards are not being met (II Tim. 4:2-4). People are experiencing great famine of the Word of God in their lives. The way out is not in attending more conferences or going to seminary but in developing the culture of self-feeding around your soul, then you will never be in want all the days of your life. It is time to take responsibility of your future by developing a self-feeding, through regular quiet time and indept study of the word of God – on the word of God.
NOTES ON THIS TEXT
- DAILY DEVOTION: THE SPIRITUAL SELF-FEEDING PROGRAM: JER. 15:16
According to Wyane Cordeiro, “self-feeding will be the heart of a healthy Christian, the heart of a healthy twenty-first century Church. It will be each of us, on a daily basis, recording Biblical instructions that contain centuries of wisdom and applying them like an ointment to relational grievances and to life’s cuts and bruises”.
God has made available in His Word the raw materials to get all that you will need in life and in ministry. If you will develop a daily self-feeding programme from the Bible and allow yourself to be daily, hourly mentored by God’s spirit, your life will undergo an unprecedented change for the better and you will never lack what is already yours (Philemon 6). Devotions give you access to an all-wise, all-powerful God who will personally walk with you step by step into the REALM of HIS REST AND OF PEACE. Only you can keep yourself spiritually healthy by feeding yourself. No one can do it for you by proxy. If you don’t take the initiative, you can starve in the land of plenty.
This discipline has been called different names like: Having a quiet time; Staying or Dwelling in the Secret place; Alone with God; Solitude through the Bible and prayer. We should know certainly that the power is not in what it is called but in what is done and how it is done. For the purpose of understanding, we call it “Daily Devotions” in today’s lesson. We should know that this discipline we are currently working on is first of all a private issue. It is when we do it well in private that we can be fruitful in the public.
- DAILY DEVOTION: THE ONE THING THAT IS NEEDFUL – PS. 27:6-8; LK. 10:38-42
Many things will demand your time and attention in life and ministry, distracting your efforts and your heart. You may think your greatest goal is to be excellent in a “lot of things”. Yes, it is important, but really only a few things are necessary; actually, only one. If you’re seated at the Lord’s feet listening to His Word, He’ll instruct you. Then you won’t have to go through the trial and error of 150 tasks to get to the one or two very important items. He’ll direct you and make your burden easy … much easier! Devotions are not a “waste” of time; actually, devotion saves you time! Martha was a veritable whirlwind of multitasking and she missed what was needful from the master’s perspective. We can’t afford not to sit at His feet as a daily regiment. Because each day will have its own challenges, doing devotions should not be our last thought but our first. This life essential cannot be a burden; we must make it a joy … an everyday joy.
III. BENEFITS OF DOING DAILY DEVO-TION: EPH. 4:17-32
These benefits are just a few of the many benefits derivable from adequate and consistent observation of daily devotion.
- The Mind of Christ: As the word begins to permeate your mind, you develop what the Scripture calls the mind of Christ (I Cor. 2:16). Your actions proceed from transformed thoughts (Rom. 12:1-2). One of the best phrases in the Bible is, “you have not so learned Christ” (Eph. 4:20). Kindly read Eph. 4:17-32 to get the whole picture.
- Preparation: The Word will keep you prepared. As you receive his wisdom, you deposit it into the archives of your heart and it will bear fruit at exactly the right time. When He plants a seed of His Word in you, it doesn’t necessarily come to fruition today. Fruits can and will be harvested down the road. As you deliberately train your mind, you develop a layer of excellence over years and years of investment. As you do your devotions, God prepares you ahead for the time to come.
- New Price Tags. As you do your devotions, God gives you important lessons. He starts switching price tags around. You begin to reduce the price tag on some valuable things and increase the price tag on intangible things that are very valuable in God’s sight (Phil. 3:7-11; I Peter 3:1-6).
- Uncommon Wisdom: There are two teachers in life – Wisdom and Conse-quences. If we choose neither, the second will be chosen for us (Ps. 119:67,71). Wisdom teaches you the lesson before you make the mistake. On the other hand, consequences demand that you make the mistake first. Only then it teaches you the lesson (Prov. 22:3). As you sit at his feet and the feet of ancient men and women in the Bible (the best source of wisdom), you would glean and garner wisdom beyond your years and insight far beyond your experience (Ps. 119:99-100). God gives us His wisdom as we linger in His word. As it becomes a part of us, increasingly we will know that this is the right decision to make or that is the right thing to say. We’ll know not only what is wrong and what is right but what is wise and what is foolish.
- Development of Spiritual Fruits: The word keeps you fruitful: As you remain in Him and His words remain in you, there will be an obvious activity of the Father flowing through your life resulting in the development of the fruits of the spirit (the characters of Christ) Jn. 15:7,3. The devil knows that if he can keep you from the Word, you’ll simply dry up. When you dry up, fruit tends to disappear from your lives. If the devil can keep you away from the Word, he steals the Father’s main tool for fruitfulness in your life. When you meditate in the word of God day and night, you would bear fruits in season and you will never know when drought comes (Ps. 1:1-3; Jer. 17:7-8).
Others are: a lifestyle of obedience, sensitivity to His voice, private divine rebuke and correction, boldness and confidence, revelation, accurate discern-ment, sacred enclosure around your soul, contentment, strength and excellence, daily counsel and direction, insulation from unnecessary suffering, light, unfeigned faith praying with understanding and comfort of the Scripture.
- PRACTICAL GUIDELINES FOR DOING DAILY DEVOTIONS – MK. 1:35
The following are the practical steps or guidelines to help all believers and especially the beginners to effectively and meaningfully observe daily devotions:
- Select a Specific Time: The best time for devotions is when you are at your best. Some people are morning people. Some are evenings. Do it when you are fresh. Since spending time with God is the most important thing to you, you should give it the most important time. The important key in this aspect is, whatever time you set, be consistent.
- Choose a Special Place: Find a very quiet place, void of distractions and label it as a meeting place on daily basis. “Jesus left the city and went, as He usually did, to the Mount of Olives … to pray”. Luke 22:39 (GN). “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus got up, left the house and went to a solitary place, where he prayed” Mk. 1:35.
- Gather the Resources you’ll need:
(i) Bring your Bible – not “Our Daily Bread”, “My uttermost for His Highest” and other devotional books. As wonderful as Christian books, magazines and devotionals aids can be, they’re not in the Bible’s league (II Tim. 3:16-17). The Bible is the pre-dominant way God speaks to us. If we put aside that primary channel of divine communication, then soon we will open ourselves to all manner of fanciful thinking. If we neglect or eliminate God’s basic means of speaking to us, we can be easily led off track. Come to your devotions with your B-i-b-l-e.
(ii) Bring Pen and Pencil: This is because you are going to underline and circle things in your Bible as you read along. The Holy Spirit is going to highlight certain things to you. When you underline or circle something, write a little note on it. What you are doing is agreeing with what the Spirit is already doing in your heart. Marking your Bible is not sacrilegious.
(iii) Bring a Bible-Reading Plan: When you do your devotions, make sure you have a map or reading plan, that guides you. If you don’t move through the Bible with some kind of GPS, you’ll find it hard to navigate. The reason why many do not read the Bible is that they are over- whelmed with the volume with the question running through their mind, “where do I begin?” A reading plan gives you a clear path to follow. Without it, you’re likely to visit only your favorite places like Psalms, Proverbs and the Gospels. Don’t leave Scriptures’ lesser-visited mentors feeling alone and aban-doned. Remember: (II Tim. 3:16-17).
(iv) Bring a Journal: A journal is simply a notebook where you can write down what God says to you. Taking notes is one of the best ways “to pay your instructor a compliment”. Since the Holy Spirit is your mentor and instructor, the best way to pay Him a compliment is to write down what He is teaching you.
“The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, “Thus speaks the LORD God of Israel, saying: ‘Write in a book for yourself all the words that I have spoken to you.” Jer. 30:2. “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: “Write in a book all the words I have spoken to you”. Rev. 2:11.CONCLUSION
Our lesson today is a core course in the kingdom life of every believer. Daily devotion has been seen as a place of being alone with God, dwelling in the secret place of the Most High and having a quiet time or solitude through the Bible and prayer. You can enjoy all the benefits enumerated and discussed in this lesson if you follow the practical guidelines prescribed in the lesson. Your greatest problem will be your struggle to stay consistent. Satan fights nothing harder than your devotion time. Therefore, make a covenant or vow to God; schedule it on your daily calendar; be prepared for Satan’s excuses and discipline yourself to follow the schedule until it becomes your habit. It takes three weeks for you to become familiar with a new task. Then it takes another three weeks before it becomes a comfortable habit (Gal. 6:9).
- What are the benefits of daily devotion?
- Mention some resources needed for a successful daily devotion?
- What has prevented you from having your daily devotions before now?
- What have you discovered from this lesson that would help you to start and maintain it?
- What are the dangers of neglecting daily devotion?