21 Day “Faith at Work” Devotional, Week 1

– WEEK 1 –

 

DAY 1 – 1/9/23

“This is wonderful stuff!” he said. “You’re different from most. Usually a host uses the best wine first, and afterwards, when everyone is full and doesn’t care, then he brings out the less expensive brands. But you have kept the best for the last!” 11 This miracle at Cana in Galilee was Jesus’ first public demonstration of his heaven-sent power. And his disciples believed that he really was the Messiah. (John 2:10-11 TLB) 

The beginning of Jesus’ public ministry is described in this passage from John 2 (from The Living Bible).  I need to stop there for a moment. Jesus is, was and continues throughout eternity to be The Living Word, the Word Who became flesh and Whose life was, among many other things, a remarkable demonstration of “Faith at Work.” Our lives should follow the same pattern with the same power. 

2 Corinthians 3:3 TPT says” “You are living letters written by Christ….by the Spirit of the living God.” When I first heard this verse in the early 1980’s it sounded like “you are all living epistles being read by all men.” I’m going to step out on a limb here–Jesus Christ, The Living Bible, has made us all living bibles, to be read by all who see our lives lived out by faith in Christ.  After Jesus was baptized and the Holy Spirit came upon Him he was led by the Spirit into the wilderness and after 40 days of fasting, praying, testing, and victory, He returned to Galilee “in the power of the Holy Spirit” and began His ministry with a “public demonstration of his heaven-sent power.” 

Jesus was at a wedding feast in Cana of Galilee, about the Father’s business while minding His own business when the need for a demonstration of heaven-sent power presented itself.  The hosts had run out of wine for the several days long celebration and Jesus’ mother Mary suggested that this would be an opportune time for Him to work the works of the Father.  Many of us either think that our time has not yet come, or, that our time has passed by long ago, but, if we will put our faith to work, we just might see some “wonderful stuff” in a public demonstration of heaven-sent power and people believing in Jesus as Savior and Lord. He has “kept the best for last.” 

Prayer and Proclamation: 

Jesus, we believe that You Are the Messiah and that we are living letters written by You and empowered by Your Holy Spirit for public demonstrations of Your Heaven-sent Power to be witnessed by people who will put their faith in You, be saved, healed and delivered by You and who will also become Spirit-filled letters to be read by all. Lord, fill us to overflowing this day, lead us, help us and teach us to, by faith, work the works of the Father bringing glory to Your Name.  AMEN.  

 

DAY 2 – 1/10/23

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him. Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” (John 3:1-3 NIV) 

Nicodemus belonged to the strictest sect of the Jewish religion and he was also a member of the ruling council of the religion.  Religion does not satisfy, position does not satisfy, knowing a little something about Jesus does not satisfy and acknowledging that He came from God should only serve to spark an appetite for MORE. 

When Jesus stepped onto the scene, He shook the foundations of dry religion, dead religion, false religion, self-serving systems/structures of the world and ungodly governments. Nicodemus would eventually let go of the old and embrace the new; he seemed to be the only one of the Pharisees who sought out Jesus with a genuine hunger for truth and a sincere inquisitiveness that longed for the deep answers of a soul that could only be satisfied by meeting with the living God.  He came with the recognition that Jesus was a genuine teacher from God and that God was genuinely with Him because Jesus was performing genuine signs. Nicodemus was genuinely interested in knowing what Jesus knew. 

Jesus proceeds to make a statement that begins to dismantle Nicodemus’ old Pharisaical religious mindset.  “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.” Wait, whaaaat?!?! Born again?!?!  Natural reasoning deems this both impossible and ridiculous but supernatural revelation ushers us into to a life of faith with the byproducts of salvation, healing, deliverance, miracles, signs and wonders. Nicodemus had a choice to make; staying comfortable in the familiarity of religion or being consumed by fascination with Jesus.  We all have that same choice.  The former keeps us stuck in park (or going in reverse), but the latter shifts us into the overdrive gear of flowing in, and flying with, the Holy Spirit.  

Prayer and Proclamation: 

Lord, we come to you in secret, desiring to know the secrets of Your Kingdom, and willing to let go of the fruitlessness of man’s religion in order to embrace the fruitfulness of divine revelation and a life born of Your Holy Spirit.  Help us in our pursuit of faith that works and usher us into the realm of Holy Spirit life and power.  Amen.  

DAY 3 – 1/11/23

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:8-10 NIV) 

Being born again, or born of the Spirit, is the starting point to living the life and doing the things that God created us for.  Fortunately, for all of us, this is not something we can achieve by doing but something we must receive by God’s doing. Ephesians 2 is brutally honest about our condition separated from Christ: dead in our transgressions and deserving of wrath. It is also refreshingly honest about our reality once joined to Christ: God made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus. 

WOW!!! Talk about your divine reversals!!! Picture a prize-fighter with his back on the canvas about to be counted out for eternity when an arm comes down through the arena roof, lifts him off the canvas, revives him, raises his hand as the victor and throws the championship belt over his shoulders to the cheers of Heaven. 

THE GIFT OF GOD: created in Christ, raised with Christ, seated with Christ, alive in Christ.  This is the basis for us doing the good works which God prepared for us to do; “Faith at Work.” Our creator prepares us, partners with us and “powerizes” us to do significant things of eternal import and impact.  He knows where He lifted us from, where He’s lifting us to and He knows what needs to be done inside of us to get us there. Faith kicks off, and cooperates with, this process; we get a makeover when we let Jesus takeover, and God gets all the glory.  

A huge key to all of this is “God…seated us with Him in the heavenly realms.”  We live from heaven to earth. Our faith is in Jesus, Jesus is in us, our faith in Jesus produces works from His heaven-sent power.  

The first portion of 1 Thessalonians 1:3 says this: “We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith.” We’ll examine this more later, but, for now, Faith Produces Work and The Work That Is Produced by Faith in Jesus Will Be Remembered. If our faith is not producing works then it is most likely misappropriated, misdirected, misinformed, or all of the above.  “Consequently, faith comes from hearing the message, and the message is heard through the word about Christ.” (Romans 10:17 NIV) God’s Word will inform our faith, direct our faith and appropriate our faith into action; it’s all from, in and through Christ. 

Prayer and Proclamation: 

Lord, we will live and move and have our being in Christ Jesus our Lord. We will walk in those things which you have prepared for us and we will live out our God-ordained destiny by faith in Jesus. We ask for Your Grace and Power to do so, in the joy, peace and rest of the Lord. Amen.

DAY 4 – 1/12/23 

“…and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:15-16) We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ…—your faith in God has become known everywhere. (1 Thessalonians 1:3,8b NIV) 

It has been previously noted from Romans 10:17 that faith comes by hearing and receiving the Word of God, the message about Christ Jesus.  Here we see that the Holy Scriptures are God-breathed and able to bring us into salvation when we put our faith in Jesus.  It’s a combination of hearing, knowing, understanding, believing and applying the Truth to our lives.  

Salvation is our birthing place in the Lord but growth into increasing levels of maturity must take place.  The Scriptures come in handy once again.  They are useful, or profitable (producing increase) for several things mentioned in 2 Timothy 3, things that equip us for every good work and help us to equip others. 

The first thing mentioned is teaching; we all need to be taught and it is vitally important what we are taught. This word used for teaching means doctrine, or that which should be taught.  There’s a whole lot of teaching flying around in the world and in the church world, but, unless that teaching is firmly grounded in solid Christian doctrine, it can be unproductive or even destructive.  

The second thing is rebuking, or reproof. Nobody likes to be rebuked and most people don’t like rebuking others but Jesus rebukes those He loves, so, we all can benefit from a life-giving rebuke every now and then, for our spiritual growth and fruitfulness, and we should learn how to gently rebuke others, when it is needed for their safety and growth. 

The third thing is correcting; this speaks of restoration to an upright or right state, improvement of life or character.  According to Hebrews 12:10 “God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness.” No matter how far we have progressed in the Lord we all still need improvement in life and character. 

The last thing mentioned is training in righteousness. It’s one thing to be taught, and to know, the right things but it’s a whole other thing to put that knowledge into practice. I know how to read music but unless I take out my instrument and practice until I become proficient at it, then it’s dormant knowledge. I studied the Spanish language for many years while in school, but I never spoke it conversationally. Guess what? I can’t have a conversation with a Spanish-speaking individual. Training is doing what we’re learning.  

The Thessalonians are a great example of “Faith at Work.” Scripture tells us that their faith produced work (they were moving something); their love prompted labor (there was some intense trouble that needed to be overcome); and their hope inspired endurance (there were persecutions but the expectancy of good enabled them to persevere). As a result, their faith in God became known everywhere.  Can we believe for that outcome? 

Prayer and Proclamation:  

Lord, we will consume your Word and allow it to teach, rebuke, correct and train us in your righteousness. Give us the understanding to put your Word into practice and to be thoroughly equipped for every good work, and also to thoroughly equip others for every good work you created them for.  By your grace, our knowledge of You will not be dormant, our faith in You will not be stagnant. Thank you that our faith in You will produce work, our love for You will prompt labor that brings breakthroughs, our hope in You will inspire us to endurance, and our faith in You will become known everywhere for the honor and glory of the Name above all names, Jesus.  Amen.

 

DAY 5 – 1/13/23 

He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” 19 After the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, he was taken up into heaven and he sat at the right hand of God. 20 Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. (Mark 16:15-20 NIV) 

I can preach on this passage for a long time but let me keep this brief. If we follow the divine directive to preach the Gospel, unbelievers will be saved by faith, those with faith will see accompanying public demonstrations of heaven-sent Power in the driving out of demons, healing of the sick, divine protection from harmful things, and spiritual gifts flowing freely. Why? When our faith is at work our Savior works with us. 

Prayer and Proclamation: 

Lord, fill us afresh with Your Holy Spirit today and grant us boldness to spread the Gospel, with signs that follow. Help us to see what You are doing that we might do it also.  Let the gifts of Holy Spirit flow freely and strongly through us this day.  We expect breakthrough and miracles.  Amen.

 

DAY 6 – 1/14/23

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. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days. (Hebrews 11:6, 30 NIV) 

Wow, two little verses that pack a whole lot of valuable volume. In verse 6 we find out that faith is the clutch that engages us with God’s pleasure, power and prosperity in His purposes.  Without, or apart from, faith (Jesus uses the same word in John 15:5 when He says: “apart from Me you can do nothing”), there is no power to live the life, or do the things, that cause God to say: “Well done!” 

You can get in a car and even start the engine (which is the vehicle’s source of power), but unless you shift out of “Park” and into “Drive” you will go NOWHERE. Faith seems to be the transmission that meshes with the source of power to produce movement.  

The verse goes on to say that anyone who comes to (approaches, draws near to, agrees with) God must believe that (be convinced of, have an unwavering conviction) God exists (is Who He says He is, I Am that I Am) and will bestow a tangible, substance-of-things-hoped-for benefit or increase on everyone who seeks Him (diligently seeks after, earnestly craves for, puts a demand on His power).  

There can be a substantial amount of money in a bank account, but it will just sit there until a withdrawal slip is filled out and submitted, a check is written from it or an online funds transfer is executed–then something can be accomplished with its purchasing power. Our deep conviction of the faithfulness, goodness and limitless power of God gives us access to His heavenly storehouse. 

Hebrews 11:6 is the key for every testimony that follows in this great chapter often referred to as “The Hall of Faith.” Verse 30 compresses one of the greatest events in the Old Testament into a power-packed statement: By faith the walls of Jericho fell, after the army had marched around them for seven days.”   This shows the inseparability between faith and obedience to God, and how that combination can override an “impossibility” and access a miracle. 

Joshua had to receive and believe the divine strategy, convince the whole army to follow the directive to march around the city of Jericho for seven days, with the expectation that after the 13th (once a day for 6 days and 7 times on the 7th day) march around the city the huge thick walls of Jericho would collapse, and the city would be conquered.  Please remember that the fall of the walls was not only the key to conquering Jericho, but conquering Jericho was the key to taking the Promised Land. 

One act of faithful obedience can open the doors for all of the promises of God to be fulfilled.  It is time for a new season of Jericho Marches to take place. An assignment may seem impossible and God’s plan may sound implausible but tenacious persevering faith will unlock the power and storehouse of Heaven-sent miracles which will unlock shut up cities and regions and usher in a great move of God that gathers a great harvest of souls. 

Prayer and Proclamation: 

Lord, we will approach You, draw near to You, pursue and seek after You until the storehouses of Heaven open and Your divinely ordained assignments are completed.  We will fix our eyes on You and we will not fall short but the “Jericho walls” will fall and our city will be flooded with the pent-up power of Your Holy Spirit. We ask for souls and families to be saved, prisoners to be rescued, captives to be set free, lives to be transformed, our city to be transformed, our church to be a center of hope for multitudes and that Jesus will be glorified in all that we do as we trust and obey. Amen.

 

DAY 7 – 1/15/23

“Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves. 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father. 13 And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:11-13 NIV) 

Jesus is basically declaring that the works which He was doing were convincing evidence that the Father was in Him and He was in the Father.  He then infers that if we were in Him and Him in us then we would work the same works, and even greater works, by virtue of Him going to the Father and sending Holy Spirit to be with us and in us. He then adds that our faith in Him could place a prayer withdrawal for anything that would bring the Father glory through the Son. 

This is amazingly wonderful stuff!!! This is abiding in Christ stuff. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples. (John 15:5, 7-8 NIV) We must abide in Him and be aligned with Him in order to ask for and bring forth greater works (the fruit of faith) that both glorify Him and become evidence to others that Jesus is The Way, The Truth and The Life. 

Prayer and Proclamation: 

Lord, we believe in You and we will abide in You that You may flow through us in the fullness of Your Holy Spirit to pray boldly and fervently, to act boldly and faithfully, and to rest completely in You in order to produce the fruit of mighty works that will glorify Your Name.  Amen, Amen.

*Written by Pastor Angelo Sarna, Sr (2023)

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