Divine Exchange: Share Your Story

Editor’s Note: This week, each day’s devotional builds on the days before.  To get the most out of them, please start with Monday’s post and proceed from there.

“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony;”
Revelation 12:11

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9

This past Sunday, Pastor Mike openly shared a big part of his story. Why, you ask? It wasn’t to give himself any kudos, I can promise you. The Lord led him to do that because sharing your story brings triumph and power! When we receive Holy Spirit, look to the Word to refine our reflection and begin a DIVINE EXCHANGE, and then tell the world, we triumph for Him and Christ’s power will rest on us. The whole point is to give GLORY to God for loving us enough for that to even be possible!

Part of my story is that I have seen God glorified, from sharing my story. God allowed me to walk a long time in denial of the true gift of Holy Spirit and in rebellion to His authority. One thing that cannot be argued is when we are shown the TRUTH, that He loves us enough to take over when we surrender, we have a choice to believe that or not. I chose to surrender. First by making Jesus Lord of my life, then by beginning my transformation journey of daily choosing to let Him be in charge. Don’t be mistaken, I am not perfect at this. During the journey, he began to shine His light on all the dark places and to show me the lies I had believed. “You will always be crazy”. “You can’t NOT screw up”. All lies. He was gracious to take me from fruits to roots in the daily journey and He will do that for you too.

He has given me different opportunities to share my story, different parts at different times, all ordained by Him. A couple of things that come from it are: God gets glory because I was one jacked up lady now living my life for Him every day, and it helps others identify, acknowledge and release lies and darkness from their own lives. THAT is what it’s all about! Tell the world what Jesus has done for you, and help each other walk through this journey of DIVINE EXCHANGE! It’s not complicated…. it’s just LOVE!!!

Pray about God giving you the opportunity to share your story and for Holy Spirit to give you the courage to do so when the opportunity presents itself. After what He has done to save, resurrect and heal me, that’s the least I can do for HIM!

About The Authors

Each week features a different author. This week’s posts are written by Angela Stewart, building on Sunday’s message about “Divine Exchange”. She is the Assistant to the Executive Pastor at New River, and is passionate about interceding in prayer for all of us.

Divine Exchange: Lies For Truth

Editor’s Note: This week, each day’s devotional builds on the days before. To get the most out of them, please start with Monday’s post and proceed from there.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.”
John 1:1

“and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all rule and authority”
Colossians 2:10

Step one, surrender and receive the GIFT of the Spirit of the Lord. Step two, the Word of God is the mirror in which we refine our reflection. If in the beginning the Word was God, they are ONE. So when we acknowledge God as our father, we receive Jesus as savior and Lord of our life, Holy Spirit as our gift and helper, the WORD is our tangible, in hand, representation of THAT!

When it is written we are complete in Him, we are also complete in the Word. In moments when we feel lacking or like something is missing He can fulfill those through His word. As we look to the Word to show us things that don’t line up with what our reflection should be, we also look to replace the things He shows us with the TRUTHS of our completeness in HIM.

After you see the lie, secret, shadow or sin, confess and repent then begin asking Him what truths He wants to replace those with. For me recently, I had to acknowledge the LIE that I was always 2nd. Second to my husband, friends, and to everyone really. The lie had me in a place of keeping myself at arm’s length from people that I should have been loving FULLY. The lie was trying to rob me from experiencing the completeness in HIM, through relationships all around me. Once I saw it for what it was, I had to exchange it for receiving God’s complete LOVE and the TRUTH that I was capable of loving completely and fully because of HIM in me!

Ask the Lord, what TRUTH does He want to give you to replace the lie you may be believing? What righteousness does He want you to walk in instead of a lifestyle of sin? After you repent, TELL HIM what you will receive, believe and share as TRUTH!

About The Authors

Each week features a different author. This week’s posts are written by Angela Stewart, building on Sunday’s message about “Divine Exchange”. She is the Assistant to the Executive Pastor at New River, and is passionate about interceding in prayer for all of us.

Divine Exchange: The Word As Your Mirror

Editor’s Note: This week, each day’s devotional builds on the days before.  To get the most out of them, please start with Monday’s post and proceed from there.

“Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it – not forgetting what they heard, but doing it – they will be blessed in what they do.”
James 1:22-25

“…being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 1:6

After you surrender and receive the Spirit of the Lord, your freedom journey can begin. The next step, with the “Helper” guiding us, we begin looking in the Word of God for direction AND reflection! I don’t mean reflect on what He says, I mean ask if His truth is reflected in what we see in ourselves. How close is that “reflection” – does it match?

If it doesn’t, then good news: it won’t ever all match because we aren’t Jesus! We will have times when the reflection is less painful, or more painful. In my life, sometimes the reflection is relatively close, just needing some refining, but other times, it didn’t match at all. At those times, the Word of God and the truth revealed by the Spirit was gut-wrenchingly hard for me to work through. But, it was also beautiful.

Therefore, as you begin to let the light of the Spirit shine on the darkest pieces of your heart, never forget God knows every inch of you and you can’t surprise Him; not with any secret, shadow, sin or lie you have believed (Psalms 139). It may grieve Him, but it will not surprise Him.

Ask the Lord where in the Word you need to look for reflection today? He will guide you to exactly what He wants to show you. Then begin asking Holy Spirit: what about me and my heart is not reflecting your Word? Once He shows you, confess and repent. He loves you completely, before and after!

About The Authors

Each week features a different author. This week’s posts are written by Angela Stewart, building on Sunday’s message about “Divine Exchange”.  She is the Assistant to the Executive Pastor at New River, and is passionate about interceding in prayer for all of us.

Divine Exchange: Receive The Gift

Editor’s Note: This week, each day’s devotional builds on the days before.  To get the most out of them, please start with Monday’s post and proceed from there.

“Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”
2 Corinthians 3:17-18

In the whole of 2 Corinthians 3, Paul writes to the church in Corinth to remind them, and us, that the ministry of condemnation and shame (which was part of the old law) is far exceeded by the ministry of righteousness (the new covenant). He reminds us that when we turn to the Lord, the veil of condemnation is removed and therefore, where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom.

Yesterday, Freedom Pastor Mike Martin taught us all that because of a “planting of the Lord” (receiving His Spirit) we will be called “oaks of righteousness” for His glory. Paul and Pastor Mike are teaching us the same thing, friends. We can receive the Spirit of the Lord and gain freedom. How does that happen? All you have to do is surrender first and acknowledge that the Lord very clearly states that our gift is His Spirit. In John 14:16 Jesus said, “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever”

Once you receive that gift and remove the veil of untruth, Paul says we will be transformed from one degree of glory to another. Interestingly enough, he doesn’t say that it MIGHT happen, he says that it WILL happen. When we are living life surrendered to the Spirit, we WILL be changed….for HIS glory!

As you meditate on 2 Corinthians 3 today, remember: step one is surrendering and receiving the gift of “the Spirit of the Lord”, so that any veils of untruth are torn away. Have you done this? If you already have, is it possible you’ve forgotten this gift in your possession? Or…if you’re ready for the next step, spend time thanking Him for the gift and check back tomorrow!

About The Authors

Each week features a different author. This week’s posts are written by Angela Stewart, building on Sunday’s message about a “Divine Exchange”. She is the Assistant to the Executive Pastor at New River, and is passionate about interceding in prayer for all of us.

Prayer By Choice

Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you.
Jeremiah 29:12

Which one do you have more control over: your choices or your circumstances? Your choices, right? They are born from your free will, your wants and needs. Your circumstances can certainly be impacted by your choices, but also from outside forces you don’t control.

For me, even when my circumstances limit what I can do, they do not determine my feelings, because my feelings are a choice. I like this because I like taking personal responsibility for my life, rather than allowing people and circumstances to dictate how I feel.

Prayer is a choice too, which means an opportunity to take some control in your life. If you are in a season or circumstance that looks or feels chaotic, choose to pray. Pray constantly, in detail, with boldness and humility. When you talk and listen through prayer, God will work on you from the inside out. That chaos you feel? It will shrink, as His peace grows in you.

Is there a specific area you do not pray over, or a circumstance that feels out of control? Maybe you think nothing can be done, or you don’t know how to rein in that chaos. Address it in your prayers – the talking and listening – and add something like this: “God, you give me the choice to pray so I choose to pray about this area. Thank you for listening, and just being you. I know by making this choice, you will respond and grow your peace in me through it. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Prayer Lifestyle

And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.
Ephesians 6:18

Some of my friends are 100% pray-ers…they personify the Ephesians 6:18 scripture and truly pray all the time. They pray to thank God, to ask for help for others and themselves, to improve situations, to confess their mistakes and share their deepest hurts, to say they love Him. They have this running conversation with God. It looks so easy for them, but you know what? They’ve been doing it for years. Do anything long enough, with purpose, and it becomes second-nature.

Prayer is a spiritual discipline. A spiritual discipline is a Biblically-expressed habit you regularly do to support your spiritual growth. The word “discipline” scares people off though, and I think even well-meaning leaders shy away from talking and teaching much about this area for fear it will sound legalistic.  So instead, let’s call it a spiritual habit!

Behavioral science tells us that it typically takes 30 days to form a new habit, and, if you design your environment to help you out, chances are solid that new habit will stick.  For example, if you want to drink more water, buy a special water bottle and keep it on your desk at work where you can see it.  Every time you look at it, take a drink.

Try improving your prayer habit and see how God responds.  Here’s a tip: consider your daily routine.  When can you pray during your routine?  When you brush your teeth, perhaps; or when you get dressed.  Instead of singing in the shower, you could pray in the shower.  The more you press in to prayer, the more God will show up!

About The Authors

Each week features a different author. This week’s posts are written by Melissa Meyer, inspired by Sunday’s message on prayer.  She is the Senior Executive Assistant at New River, and loves praying about all the things.

What Do You Pray For?

When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me.
1 Corinthians 13:10-11

When I was a child, I prayed for myself mostly (if I prayed at all). Human nature is nothing if not selfish, after all, and at some point, I stopped praying altogether. When I was an adult hitting a personal rock bottom, I had been attending a church where people prayed for me, and I knew it. They prayed over me one-on-one, and in groups, and from afar. They thanked God for everything he was already doing in my life, even if it was invisible to the human eye.

God’s plan for me came to pass, as in the midst of all this prayer, I finally made one of my own: to accept Christ. In the following weeks, my reality shifted. Salvation opened up a wholly new and different way to live, and I’ve pursued His desires for my life ever since.

I wonder what might’ve happened if I wasn’t covered in prayer during that critical time in my life.  God worked through the prayers of others to show me His love. Their example taught me how to pray: not out of the selfish desires of a child, but the desires of a person who wants whatever He wants.

Do you pray for others? Do you thank God, no matter the outcome? Do you tell him how amazing he is? Think about how you usually pray and ask yourself: what’s missing?

About The Authors

Each week features a different author. This week’s posts are written by Melissa Meyer, inspired by Sunday’s message on prayer.  She is the Senior Executive Assistant at New River, and loves praying about all the things.