– WEEK 3 –
Day 15 (1/23/23).
As it is written: “I have made you a father of many nations.” He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed—the God who gives life to the dead and calls into being things that were not.18 Against all hope, Abraham in hope believed and so became the father of many nations, just as it had been said to him, “So shall your offspring be.” 19 Without weakening in his faith, he faced the fact that his body was as good as dead—since he was about a hundred years old—and that Sarah’s womb was also dead. 20 Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised. (Romans 4:17-21)
Abraham BELIEVED God!! It is one thing to say you believe in God; it is a whole other thing to truly BELIEVE God. James 2:19 says: “You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder.” We must be persuaded by and confident in the fact that the God Who created everything, and sustains everything, by His Word, also communicates to us by His Word, reveals Himself to us by His Word, backs up His Word with His Power and can therefore be trusted by us to act on His Word to us.
That’s what it means when the New Testament quotes Genesis 15:6 “Abram believed the Lord, and he credited it to him as righteousness,” The O.T. Hebrew word, in a nutshell, means to support, confirm, be faithful, uphold, carry, confirm, verify, trust, stand firm because God is reliable and trustworthy. Believing is seeing more than seeing is believing! It means we take into account Who God is and what He has and don’t place as much weight on who we are and what we have. The results are exponentially greater when we step out on God’s Word regardless of what our circumstances dictate.
We have vast amounts of information and research available to us via the world-wide web, but we do far better to trust the Master of the Universe and the scant details He may offer to us. “By faith Abraham, when called to go to a place he would later receive as his inheritance, obeyed and went, even though he did not know where he was going. 12 And so from this one man, and he as good as dead, came descendants as numerous as the stars in the sky and as countless as the sand on the seashore” (Hebrews 11:8,12) Abraham didn’t know where he was going but he went; he was as good as dead with no descendants, but God supplied countless descendants.
Prayer and Proclamation: Lord, thank you that You Are reliable, trustworthy, verifiable and worthy of faith actions from us. Our faith will be made complete by what we do. We will go where you say we can go, stay where You say we can stay, do what You say we can do, with exponential increase, in Jesus’ Name; AMEN.
Day 16 (1/24/23)
Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. (James 2:21-22) The Lord appeared to Abram and said, “To your offspring I will give this land.” So he built an altar there to the Lord, who had appeared to him.8 From there he went on toward the hills east of Bethel and pitched his tent, with Bethel on the west and Ai on the east. There he built an altar to the Lord and called on the name of the Lord. (Genesis 12:7-8) 2 Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love—Isaac—and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.” 9 When they reached the place God had told him about, Abraham built an altar there and arranged the wood on it. He bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then he reached out his hand and took the knife to slay his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called out to him from heaven, “Abraham! Abraham!” “Here I am,” he replied.12 “Do not lay a hand on the boy,” he said. “Do not do anything to him. Now I know that you fear God, because you have not withheld from me your son, your only son.” (Genesis 22:2, 9-12)
We are entering into a sustained season of remarkable revival and amazing awakening but in order to truly participate, possess and steward it we must be a people who build altars, dig deep wells, call upon the Name of the Lord, and live in the genuine fear of the Lord. All of this consists of deep devotion, complete commitment, and humble, heart-circumcised, everything-on-the-line, cross-carrying, self-sacrificing, resurrection-expecting obedience that follows closely after Jesus and Holy Spirit.
Abraham consistently erected altars, and pitched his tents, toward the Lord. He was being taken from faith to faith and glory to glory by a God that promised him everything and expected faithfulness in return. What a crucifixion foreshadowing picture we get here with loving father, knife in hand, pain in his heart, leading his beloved son, wood on his back, climbing up a mountain to climb on an altar.
After all of Abraham’s obedience, it wasn’t until this Mount Moriah scenario that God says to him: “Now I know that you fear God.” What was the essence of Abraham acing this divine test: “because you have not withheld from me your son; your only son.” There is always a bigger picture in the plan of God, a larger purpose in the process of God and a future fulfillment from our obedient faithfulness that we usually don’t see when we’re in the midst of ascending the holy hill of God.
“Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place?4 The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god.” (Psalms 24:3-4) In Hebrews 11:17-19 we read this: “By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.”
When we embrace the promises of God, we also embrace the processes of God and all along the way we encounter the power of God as we faithfully pursue the God of the promise, process and power.
Prayer and Proclamation: Yes Lord, Yes Lord, Yes, Yes Lord, Amen! Lord, we give you our “Amen” because You have given us Your “Yes” to every one of Your promises in Christ Jesus Our Lord. Give us great grace to live in the genuine fear of the Lord as You demonstrate greater power than we have ever seen and reveal greater glory than any of us has ever experienced. Crucified with Christ and raised with Christ we live by the faith of Him who gave Himself for us. Amen!
Day 17 (1/25/23)
His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, 11 according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Ephesians 2:10-11) And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross. (Colossians 2:15) Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us,21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen. (Ephesians 3:20-21)
One of God’s marvelous purposes for the church is stated in Ephesians 2:10. God desires to make His multifaceted wisdom known through His Church, to the principalities and powers of evil. Colossians 2:15 assures us that through His triumph by the cross Jesus stripped the “powers and authorities” of their power and authority and gave it to us.
As Jesus said in Luke 10:19 “I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you.” Great glory is rightly attributed to God when His Church is moving in the “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.”
Prayer/Proclamation: Lord, be glorified through us. Amen
Day 18 (1/26/23)
I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish. 15 That is why I am so eager to preach the gospel also to you who are in Rome.16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile. (Romans 1:14-16) Therefore I glory in Christ Jesus in my service to God. 18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done— 19 by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So, from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ. (Rom. 15:17-19)
There is a great line in the first Spiderman movie when Uncle Ben looks into the eyes of his nephew, Peter Parker (Spiderman) and says: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Jesus said this: “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” (Luke 12:48b) The Holy Spirit, through Paul, the apostle, says: “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful.” (1 Corinthians 4:2)
Apparently, Paul took his responsibilities very seriously, so should I, so should all who have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus. Salvation is free for the repentant sinner, but it cost Jesus everything. Paul declares that he is under obligation, a debtor to the lost because as one who has been saved, he has also been entrusted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Paul writes this to his spiritual son in 1Timothy 1:12-17: I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen.
I know it well because it happens to be my “calling” Scripture passage. The Gospel is much too good to keep on the shelf; it has too much power to keep bottled up; it should be presented to everyone that they too might have an opportunity to believe and be saved. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again. (2 Corinthians 5:14-15)
What does God want to accomplish through us? Is our service to God compelled by His love or hindered by our comforts? That stung me! If we will fully proclaim the Gospel of Christ, we will reap a harvest “by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God.”
Prayer and Proclamation: Lord, may Your love inundate us afresh and compel us to put our faith to work by being eager to offer the Gospel of Your Kingdom to everyone, including “the worst of sinners.” We thank you that everyone who calls upon the Name of the Lord will be saved. Your signs and wonders will accompany our Gospel presentation and compel them to call on Jesus, so that none should perish. Thank you for choosing us and using us to display Your immense patience and power. There’s no time to waste. Amen.
Day 19 (1/27/23)
“For the grace of God has appeared that offers salvation to all people. 12 It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, 13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, 14 who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” (Titus 2:11-14)
God’s grace saves us, teaches us and makes us eager to do what is good. “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not without effect. No, I worked harder than all of them—yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10) God’s grace has a very powerful effect on us and all who will receive it. It transformed Antioch into one of the most effective Gospel-preaching, church planting, apostolic hubs of supernatural New Covenant ministry and missions.
“News of this reached the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. 23 When he arrived and saw what the grace of God had done, he was glad and encouraged them all to remain true to the Lord with all their hearts,” (Acts 11:22-23 NIV) Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul (Paul) and he brought him back to Antioch where together they taught large numbers of people. Eventually they were sent out from there by the Holy Spirit and Acts chapters 13 and 14 are filled with the amazing things the Lord accomplished through them.
Prayer and Proclamation: Lord, may Acts 4:33 be our testimony: With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all. Amen and Amen!
Day 20 (1/28/23)
Peter said to her, “How could you conspire to test the Spirit of the Lord? Listen! The feet of the men who buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out also.”10 At that moment she fell down at his feet and died. Then the young men came in and, finding her dead, carried her out and buried her beside her husband. 11 Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people. And all the believers used to meet together in Solomon’s Colonnade. 13 No one else dared join them, even though they were highly regarded by the people.14 Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number. 15 As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.
This passage from Acts 5:9-16 should be an eye-opener, an attention-getter and a straighten-up-and-fly-right call to all of us. None of us wants to sign our names on the Ananias and Sapphira sign-up list but we all should desire the spiritual results of what took place. 11 “Great fear seized the whole church and all who heard about these events.12 The apostles performed many signs and wonders among the people.” The genuine fear of the Lord will be a hallmark of this next move of God. God is not playing games. The stakes are too high so we should not be playing games with God.
The closer we are to the glory of the Lord being revealed in greater magnitude the higher the standards and the swifter the judgement. Aaron’s sons Nadab and Abihu took their censers, put fire in them and added incense; and they offered unauthorized fire before the Lord, contrary to his command. 2 So fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed them, and they died before the Lord. 3 Moses then said to Aaron, “This is what the Lord spoke of when he said: “‘Among those who approach me I will be proved holy; in the sight of all the people I will be honored.’” (Leviticus 10:1-3)
Aaron, Moses’ older brother, had just been ordained as high priest of Israel and his sons ordained as priests to serve alongside him, and it was a glorious day. The holy fire of God had fallen, and the people shouted for joy and fell facedown before the Lord, as well they should have. Somehow, Nadab and Abihu proceeded to step over the boundary lines of their ministry and what God had authorized them to do and God’s judgment was necessary and immediate.
In Acts 5, Peter, an apostle of Jesus, was given a Word of Knowledge by the Holy Spirit because Ananias and Sapphira were playing games with the Lord and the Lord wasn’t having it. Two people dropping dead in a church service may seem like the greatest church growth deterrent there could be, but the results were just the opposite. “Nevertheless, more and more men and women believed in the Lord and were added to their number.”
Do we want to play games, or do we want the genuine glory of God and the genuine growth in character, integrity, power and numbers that come with it? I want the glory of God to be revealed and the wisdom to move with God in the holiness that comes from Him, that He would be honored in the sight of all the people. God’s Holy fire will always overpower any unholy fire that the enemy may try to conjure up.
Prayer and Proclamation: O Lord, want to be holy as You Are Holy and honor You in the sight of all people, and we can only do that because You have made us holy through faith in Christ Jesus and You have sanctified us through and through. Grace us to walk in awesome reverence of You and in miraculous, powerful manifestations of Your Awesomeness. We truly desire, and believe You want to do greater than what we read in Acts 5:15-16: “As a result, people brought the sick into the streets and laid them on beds and mats so that at least Peter’s shadow might fall on some of them as he passed by. 16 Crowds gathered also from the towns around Jerusalem, bringing their sick and those tormented by impure spirits, and all of them were healed.” We don’t want to shrink back from Your Glory, we want to fall facedown before Your Glory. Work Your work in us, through us, all around us. Be glorified. AMEN.
Day 21 (1/29/23)
In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach 2 until the day he was taken up to heaven, after giving instructions through the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen. 3 After his suffering, he presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. 4 On one occasion, while he was eating with them, he gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. 5 For John baptized with water, but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 1:1-5 NIV)
I love the Book of Acts! It is also called The Acts of the Apostles. May I add that it also could be called The Acts of Believers in Jesus Baptized With His Spirit Moving With His Spirit Empowered By His Spirit To Bring His Gospel To The Ends Of The Earth And Gather The Worldwide Harvest Of Billions Of Souls, or something like that!
The phrase “all that Jesus began to do and teach” speaks of all that Jesus continues to do and teach through His Church, or “Ekklesia,” in the earth. We are called out, born-again, poured into, fire-baptized, Spirit-filled, sent forth ones representing King Jesus as His ambassadors expanding the earthly boundaries of His Kingdom by His authority, anointing and power until He comes again. The seventh angel sounded his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, which said: “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah, and he will reign for ever and ever.” (Revelation 11:15 NIV)
Jesus is still, and will continue, giving convincing proofs that He is ALIVE. He is alive in His Church and we are alive in Him and He continues His ministry through us:
- His ministry of intercession (Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. Hebrews 7:25 NKJV);
- His ministry of salvation, healings and miracles (This salvation, which was first announced by the Lord, was confirmed to us by those who heard him. 4 God also testified to it by signs, wonders and various miracles, and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will. Hebrews 2:3-4 NIV);
- His ministry of deliverance and transforming cities (“Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. 6 When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. 7 For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralyzed, or lame were healed. 8 So there was great joy in that city.” Acts 8:5-8 NIV).
There is no question in my spirit that we are embarking on the greatest, most glorious days in church history. Jesus is still He Who Baptizes in the Holy Spirit and Fire and He is still walking among the lampstands (Rev. 2:1) and his eyes were like blazing fire.15 His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. (Revelation 1:15-16)
His Voice is still saying: “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20 NIV) GET READY, GET SET, GO!!!
Prayer and Proclamation: Jesus, we ask You for a fresh baptism in Your Holy Spirit and Fire. Thank you that You have called us into partnership with You and Your Gospel and You testify to it with signs, wonders, various miracles and gifts of your Holy Spirit. We want it all and give all of ourselves to You for Your honor and glory. Glorify Your Name. Amen!
Conclusion/Continuation: “For two whole years Paul stayed there in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him. 31 He proclaimed the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ—with all boldness and without hindrance!” (Acts 28:30-31 NIV)
I love that the end of The Book of Acts is not a conclusion but a continuation. This “Faith at Work” Devotional is just a launching pad for us to allow the Lord to take us higher and farther than ever before. What the Lord has in store for us in 2023 and beyond is not for the faint of heart or the uncommitted but if you will just come as you are and give yourself into the hands of the Lord, He will strengthen your heart and deepen your devotion and commitment to Him, and you will soar to new heights in Him and delve down to deeper depths in Him, and you will be strong in the Lord and His mighty power.
We are called to proclaim the Kingdom of God and to teach about the Lord Jesus with all boldness and without hindrance (to be sure, hindrances will come but they will not detain, discourage or restrict us). So, let’s purpose to be that sacred assembly of Christ followers that bring His salvation to the ends of the earth, to every tribe, kindred and tongue that together we may sing “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!” (Revelation 5:13 NIV) AMEN and AMEN!!!!!!!
*Faith at Work Devotional written by Pastor Angelo Sarna, Sr.
**All Scripture references throughout this 21 Day Devotional are from the New International Version unless otherwise indicated.