Prepare your Heart
Spend some time reading today’s verses multiple times. Make sure to read them in context of the verses around them, the chapter they are in, and the book they are in. Before beginning today’s devotion, take time to prepare your heart before the Lord in prayer. Ask that God, through His Spirit, would bring to life the truths of today’s verses and help you see how they apply to your life. While this journal is a tool to guide your time with the Lord, nothing can replace the power of personal prayer and preparation.
Be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.
—Matthew 28:20 (NLT)
Whoever comes to me I will never cast out.
I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you.
—John 14:18 (ESV)
No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.
—John 6:40 (NIV)
Your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.
—Matthew 6:6 (NIV)
Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven.
—Matthew 10:32 (NIV)
For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ.
—2 Corinthians 1:20 (NLT)
When it comes to our goal of pursing Christ during this twenty-one-day season of fasting and prayer, some important things to fix our eyes on are His promises. While we often focus on what Christ did in His earthly ministry (and we certainly should!), sometimes we forget about the guarantees He gave us as He spoke during His earthly ministry. We can hardly get through a chapter of the gospels without finding some promise Jesus makes—either to an individual or to His followers as a whole. This should give us great comfort and courage. Our Savior comes bearing precious pledges to us. He does not leave us with nothing to hold onto as we wait for His return. He pours out assurances we can securely stand on regarding both our present and our future. Among them, He promises us His presence all the way to the end of this age, that He’ll never send away His followers, that He will raise us up in resurrection power as He Himself was raised, that we will be rewarded for our obedience, and that He will acknowledge us before His Father! Not listed above are all sorts of other promises Christ makes, for example, the promise of the Holy Spirit to teach and guide us, of rest when we are weary, that He is the true and trustworthy way to the Father, that He is the definition of truth we can use to guide our lives and decisions, that the lowly in the kingdom of this world are considered highest in the kingdom of God, and that He is life everlasting. And these are just a few. The list of Jesus’ promises to us could go on and on!
As if these weren’t enough, we’re given an even more jaw-dropping statement in 2 Corinthians 1. Verse 20 tells us that all of the promises God made to His chosen people in the Old Testament are guaranteed to us. But how? Now that we’re in Christ, we’re counted as one of God’s chosen people! Being in Christ means being part of God’s people, and more than that, God’s family. Any promises He gives His children is meant for anyone who trusts in Jesus. Knowing this, we stand amazed. Not only do we have the promises Jesus made us, but we can claim all the ancient promises God gave Israel as our own too. In Christ, all of God’s promises are assured to us. If you’ve forgotten about the countless promises of Christ, or have simply never explored them, take some time today to search out some of His assurances to you in Scripture.
Questions for Thought //
1. What promises in our culture have taken the place of Jesus’ promises to you? Why are Christ’s promises better than the ones our society offers us?2. Which of the promises discussed in today’s entry has encouraged you most? Why? How could this promise specifically change your daily life?