40 Days of Prayer | Day 34

day34SEND FORWARD6 …who have borne witness of your love before the church. If you send them forward on their journey in a manner worthy of God, you will do well… 3 John 1:6 NKJV

5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. Psalm 100:5 NIV

1 I will sing of the LORD’s great love forever; with my mouth I will make your faithfulness known through all generations. Psalm 89:1 NIV

Being a part of the Lord’s work here on earth means that you are a part of something so much bigger than yourself!

Being a part of the Lord’s work here on earth means that you are a part of something so much bigger than yourself! From creation, the Lord had a good plan for His people. Adam and Eve sinned, but the Lord sought them out when they were naked and ashamed. He wrapped them in animal skin and forgave them. What a picture!

The Lord used Noah’s obedience to save His people from the flood, Moses and Joshua’s obedience to lead the people to the promised land, Esther’s obedience to protect them from annihilation, and so many more. John the Baptist prepared the way for the Lord. Mary birthed him and raised Him as a child. The disciples followed Him and spread the good news of the Gospel.

Fast forward thousands of years and God used someone else’s obedience to tell you about Jesus! You got to experience His love and forgiveness, just like Adam and Eve. His work, which began at creation, continues today. “His love endures forever and his faithfulness continues through all generations!”

When Noah obeyed, there is no way he could have known all that was in store. The same goes for each person throughout history that the Lord has used. His work is so far beyond us! What a privilege it is for us to get to be a part.

This week, the final week of our 40 Days of Prayer, we will be talking about ways that we can send the Gospel forward. Send means to launch. May we be faithful, as so many were before us, to send forward the message of hope for generations to come!

APPLICATION
– Praise God for the obedience of so many people before you. Thank Him for the person or people who shared the Gospel with you. Pray that you will be faithful in sending the Gospel forward.
– Praise God for those who have gone before you at Liberty. Thank Him for their vision of relocating the Hampton Campus to its current location on Big Bethel Road. Thank Him for the vision of multiple campuses and for the fruition of that vision at Harbour View and Greenbrier. Thank Him for the vision of continuing to reach Hampton Roads and beyond with the Gospel through many more campuses.
– Pray about your role in sending the Gospel forward from here. Pray about the commitment you will make on Sunday to the Forward initiative. Pray about ways you can serve through Connect Groups or other Liberty ministries to share the Gospel with those who have not heard.
– Pray that the work the Lord began so many years ago would continue today. Pray that many more will come to know the love God has for them.

40 Days of Prayer | Day 33

day33LOOK FORWARD14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 2 Peter 3:14 NKJV

6 …All flesh is grass, and all its beauty is like the flower of the field. 7 The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of the LORD blows on it; surely the people are grass. 8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever. Isaiah 40:6-8 ESV

What a full week it’s been looking forward to all that is ahead! We talked about expectation of the Lord’s return motivating our present obedience, like it did Abraham and Moses. We talked about the importance of evangelism in last days, knowing that there is a devastating end in store for those who are not in Christ. Finally, we talked about the importance of examining our present lives to ensure that we will be found faithful when He returns.

The last concept we will look at this week is evaluation. Peter ended his second letter saying, “17 You therefore, beloved, knowing this beforehand….” The “this” in that line is referring to what he has said about false teachers in the last days. “…knowing this beforehand, take care that you are not carried away with the error of lawless people and lose your own stability. 18 But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen” (2 Peter 3:17-18 ESV).

May we determine now that we will value God and His word above everything else!

Evaluation means to determine or set the value or worth of something. False teachings will arise and other things will vie for our affection. May we determine now that we will value God and His word above everything else! May we stay mindful of all that He has said about what’s to come. May we not be “carried away” by other influences, may we continue to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord,” and may we desire His glory “both now and to the day of eternity!”

The Word of the Lord is true. “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.” Jesus will come again. Let us look forward to that day!

APPLICATION
– Praise God that His Word is true and that it stands forever. Pray that He would help you to value it above all else. May we always evaluate things through the lens of the Bible, not the Bible through the lens of other things.
– Pray for the Liberty family. Pray that we would not conform to the pattern of this world, but that we would be transformed by the renewing of our minds so that we may discern God’s will (Rom. 12:2). Pray that we as a church would value God and His word above all else.
– Pray for the continual spreading of the Gospel through our church. As other teachings and philosophies arise in the last days, pray that we would be faithful to preach Jesus and His truth no matter what. May we, like those in the early church, consider it a privilege to face persecution for the sake of the Gospel.

40 Days of Prayer | Day 32

day32LOOK FORWARD14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 2 Peter 3:14 NKJV

…when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? Luke 18:8b NIV

At the end of our devotion yesterday, the question was asked, “Are you living today with the Lord’s return in mind?” Since we do not know when He will return, it’s important that we do daily what we want to be found doing when that day comes.

If the Lord returns today, will He find faith in your life?

In today’s passage, Jesus asks a similar question. Explaining the parable of the persistent widow, and teaching the disciples to pray and not give up, He asks them if He will find faith when he returns. Think about that question for a minute. If the Lord returns today, will He find faith in your life? Are you actively believing His promises are true? Are you actively believing our God can heal, redeem, restore, and save, and that He goes before you, comes behind you, and can work beyond you? Are you actively believing that He is coming again and that those who do not know Him will be separated from Him for all eternity? Are you actively praying and not giving up?

Those are hard questions but certainly worthwhile ones! Examine your heart. Ask the Lord to examine your heart. Look forward to His coming and think about how He will find you when He returns. Will you be found faithful with all that He has given you?

May today be a new day! May you trust Him for a new work and look forward to His return and to the fulfillment of His promises. He does keep them!

May we be found faithful!

APPLICATION
– Thank the Lord again that He is the Author and Perfecter of our faith. Thank Him for being a God who keeps His promises. Ask Him if you are currently living in such a way that you’ll be found faithful when He returns. Pray for His Spirit to continue to work in your life so that you will be found faithful one day.
– Pray that we as a church would be found faithful when He returns. Pray that we would make the most of the opportunities and resources He’s given us. May we individually make up a collective body that is faithful to the Lord.
– Pray for our Connect Groups, for the use of our new Ministry Platform, and for Liberty Anywhere. Pray for the ministry at our Hampton Campus, Harbour View Campus, and Greenbrier Campus. Pray that we would use the resources God has given us to advance the Gospel. Pray that many would come to know the Lord through these endeavors.

40 Days of Prayer | Day 31

day31LOOK FORWARD14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 2 Peter 3:14 NKJV

Now, brothers and sisters, about times and dates we do not need to write to you, 2 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 3 While people are saying, “Peace and safety,” destruction will come on them suddenly, as labor pains on a pregnant woman, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief. 5 You are all children of the light and children of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness. 6 So then, let us not be like others, who are asleep, but let us be awake and sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk, get drunk at night. 8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. 1 Thessalonians 5:1-11 NIV

What are you looking forward to? Is it a trip, life change, or upcoming event? Does the Lord’s return stir your spirit like these other things? This week we’ve talked about living with expectation of what’s to come and the importance of evangelism while we wait. Prayerfully you are stepping, reaching, and looking forward to that glorious day when we will see our Savior face to face! Prayerfully that hope has a great effect on your present days.

Our passage for today reminds us that the Lord will come “like a thief in the night” or “as labor pains on a pregnant woman.” We do not know when that will be. While those who do not know the Lord may be caught off guard, we as Christians should not be surprised. How do you want to be found when He returns? “Awake and sober,” living ready for the day, or asleep and distracted, not taking His promise seriously? Do you want to be found growing in the things of God, giving to the work of God, and going on mission for God? Or, do you want to be found giving all of your energy and efforts to things that will not last?

Are you living today with the Lord’s return in mind?

Paul urges us to be sober, to put on faith and love, to remember the hope of our salvation, and to encourage one another in these things. Think for a minute about the faith we read about in Hebrews 11, about the love we read that shows others we are Christians, and about the hope of our salvation coming to ultimate fruition, ultimate reconciliation. Examine your life. Are you living today with the Lord’s return in mind?

APPLICATION
– Think about what you are looking forward to. Confess to the Lord if His return is not one of those things. Ask Him to help you be mindful that He may come at any moment. If you are looking forward to His coming, spend some time praising Him again for all that His coming will mean for you.
– Pray for our church family. Pray that we could be characterized as a body looking forward to the Lord’s return. Pray that we would encourage each other to put on hope, faith, and love daily. Pray specifically for the encouragement that is taking place in Connect Groups. Ask the Lord to raise up more leaders and more homes so that more groups can be started throughout Hampton Roads.
– Pray that the final days of Liberty Loves Hampton Roads would make a huge difference in our community. Pray that many would hear the good news of what all the Lord has in store for those who love Him.

40 Days of Prayer | Day 30

day30LOOK FORWARD14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 2 Peter 3:14 NKJV

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “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

Some of the very last instructions Jesus gave while on this earth are found in today’s passage. The disciples had been with Jesus through a lot! They were specifically chosen by Him and left all that they had to follow Him. They were right with Him as He healed, interacted with people, and taught the things of God. They saw him angry, hungry, and thirsty. They watched in anguish as He was crucified and they rejoiced when He rose again. The end of their time together was near. If ever the question of “What now?” was asked, this was it.

Of the little instruction Jesus gave after His resurrection, He certainly emphasized to them that they were to go and tell of all that they had seen. When they were in Galilee, He tells them our passage for today, the Great Commission. When they were in a locked room, fearing the Jews, He said to them, “As the Father has sent me, I am sending you” (John 20:21). Just before His ascension, Jesus says “you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8 NIV).

Jesus’ final words, His final instruction, the closing point of His time on this earth had come to this. Now the disciples were to go and tell. The same command is ours today.

Jesus is coming again. As we look forward to that day, evangelism is critical.

Jesus is coming again. As we look forward to that day, evangelism is critical. The Lord’s patience means salvation. We must use the time we have left to testify of all that we’ve seen Him do and to share the Gospel with as many as possible.

APPLICATION
– Praise God for the good news of the Gospel. Pray that the Holy Spirit would speak mightily in your soul the command to “Go.” Ask that God would help you to be obedient to that call.
– Spend some time thanking God that Liberty is a church that goes and that prioritizes sharing the Gospel. Pray about how the Lord would have you commit to taking the Gospel forward this next year. Pray about committing to a Connect Group beyond this Forward series, about ways you can be involved in Liberty Anywhere, and about ways you can serve at your current campus or at a future Liberty campus.
– Thank God that His patience in returning means salvation for more people. Pray that many in your sphere of influence would come to know Christ in these last days. Set a goal for today to share Jesus with at least one person.

40 Days of Prayer | Day 29

day29LOOK FORWARD14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 2 Peter 3:14 NKJV

1Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. 2 I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride beautifully dressed for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. 4 ‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5 He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”
6 He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give water without cost from the spring of the water of life. 7 Those who are victorious will inherit all this, and I will be their God and they will be my children. 8 But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.” Revelation 21:1-8 NIV

The past several days we’ve been talking about the great things that the Lord has in store for us. Looking forward to those things impacts our present lives. Today’s passage is found at the very end of Revelation. We read about the city Abraham was looking forward to. We read about dwelling with God forever, about Him making everything new for the last time, and about no more tears, death, pain, or thirst. What a day that will be for those who know Christ!

The harsh reality is that there is another ending as well. Those who do not know Christ will not experience the great reward that we will. Verse 8 says, “they will be consigned to the fiery lake of burning sulfur.” What a difficult line to read, especially in contrast to verses 1-7.

“The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV).

While the Lord’s return is imminent, it has not yet happened. Peter says, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9 NIV). “Our Lord’s patience means salvation” (2 Peter 3:15 NIV). What an awesome thing!

Our God’s heart is that people would know Him and that they would be reconciled to Him like we talked about on Day 4. “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him” (John 3:17 NIV). We have been entrusted with this message! Evangelism for the Christian is urgent and extremely important. Jesus is coming back! When is the last time you told someone about the hope He offers?

APPLICATION
– Spend some time again thanking God for the hope He’s given you. Pray for specific people that you know who do not know that hope. Ask the Lord to give you an opportunity to share the Gospel with those people.
– Pray that our church family would sense the urgency and importance of evangelism. May the Gospel be the focus of everything we do.
– Pray specifically for those who will hear the Gospel through our three existing campuses, our new campuses, and Liberty Loves Hampton Roads. May they be quick to hear, may they understand, and may they respond to the greatest love there is.

40 Days of Prayer | Day 28

day28LOOK FORWARD14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 2 Peter 3:14 NKJV

24 By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be known as the son of Pharaoh’s daughter. 25 He chose to be mistreated along with the people of God rather than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. 26 He regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward. Hebrews 11:24-26 NIV

Moses too is an example of someone with great expectation for what’s to come. Today’s verses show that he was willing to do the right thing, no matter the cost, because he was looking forward to the reward God had in store for him. Just like with Abraham, Moses’ expectation of the future motivated his present.

This idea is not uncommon. Do any of the examples below sound familiar?
– “I’ve already bought my wedding dress and picked out a caterer! I just know my boyfriend will propose soon!”
– “I don’t want to commit to that trip because we may have a child/new house/car payment by then.”
– “I can certainly make it through this next week of long hours and hard work because the week after I’ll be on vacation!”

What we expect and hope to happen, motivates our present.

What we expect and hope to happen, motivates our present. While proposals, new houses, and vacations can fall through, the Lord’s return will not. Not many things on this earth are certain, but He is guaranteed.

Is your expectation of the Lord’s coming, His judgement, and His reward affecting your present? Investing your time and money in the Lord’s work will pay off. Obedience, even when it’s hard, will be rewarded.

What do you need to do to prepare for the Lord’s return? Are there people you need to share the Gospel with? Are there any investments of time or money that you need to move from earthly things to eternal things? Christ is certainly of much “greater value” than anything we could reap on this earth!

APPLICATION
– Spend some time reflecting over where you invest your time and money. Ask the Lord to show you anything you may need to adjust in order to invest in eternal things.
– Pray about how you might be involved in the ministry of Liberty. Our mission is changing lives, communities, and the world for Jesus Christ. Are you playing a role in that mission? Ask the Lord how He would have you serve and what He would have you give to this eternal work.
– Pray for a burden to share the Gospel with those who do not know Jesus. Ask God to put an urgency in your heart to share with them before He returns.
– Pray together with your family about the commitment you will make to the Forward initiative.

40 Days of Prayer | Day 27

day27LOOK FORWARD14 Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless; 2 Peter 3:14 NKJV

8 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. 9 By faith he made his home in the promised land like a stranger in a foreign country; he lived in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.10 For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God. Hebrews 11:8-10 NIV

Our God keeps His promises!

Hearing “well done” and receiving the prize that the Lord has in store for us will be awesome! That day is coming! The Lord promised He will return and He will. People may question, but Peter reminds us that the same word that spoke creation into being, the same word that promised the flood, is the same word that has promised a new heaven and a new earth (2 Peter 3:5-7, 13). Our God keeps His promises!

Even from the days of old, the saints of God looked forward to all that God has in store for those who love Him. They lived with great expectation, knowing that what He said would one day come to be. Today’s passage gives Abraham as an example. Abraham’s expectation of the future, motivated his present. He was looking forward to a permanent residence with his Heavenly Father and that inspired his obedience to the Lord’s leading.

Abraham, along with many others, “did not receive the things promised.” They were “living by faith when they died,” still “longing for a better country – a heavenly one” (Heb. 11:13,16 NIV). The author of Hebrews says, “Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them” (Heb. 11:16 NIV).

Are you living with expectation of things to come? Do you believe that what God has said about His coming is true? Is your belief motivating your obedience? Like we read on Day 12, where we are looking affects what we do!

Oh that God would not be ashamed to be called our God! May we take Him at His word and look forward to all that He has in store!

APPLICATION
– Praise God for the great things He has in store! Praise Him for being a God who keeps His promises. Ask Him to help you be mindful that what He said about His coming will happen. May that motivate you to obey what He’s calling you to do today.
– Pray that we as a church would be mindful of the Lord’s return. May we be faithful to obey all that He’s called us to, knowing that we will give an account one day. May we look forward to all that He has in store for us and may we do everything we can now to prepare for that day.
– Pray that through Liberty Loves Hampton Roads, Liberty Anywhere, our current campuses, and our new campuses, we would be able to share with many that the Lord will return one day. Pray that God would expand our reach and that we really would be able to have a campus within a 30-minute drive of each home in Hampton Roads. Pray that people of all ages and ethnicities will come and hear the Gospel.

40 Days of Prayer | Day 26

day26REACH FORWARD13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead… Philippians 3:13 NKJV

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! Matthew 25:21a NIV

What a way to finish! Everyone likes to hear “well done” at the end of a job. Can you imagine standing before the Lord one day and hearing those words? Wow! That is a prize worth living for! Certainly, as we’ve seen this week, that is the prize Paul was living for!

Today’s verse is found in what is often called “The Parable of the Talents” (Matt. 25:14-30). Jesus is teaching on His second coming. He uses the example of a man who went on a journey and entrusted three of his servants with money. The first two servants invested the money and gained a return on what they’d been given. Those two servants are the ones who heard, “Well done.” The man was not pleased with the third servant because he didn’t do anything with what he had received.

We have certainly been given much! We have wealth, education, freedom to meet together and study the Bible, freedom to share with others what we believe, etc. What are you doing with all that God has given you? Are your purposes, priorities, and pursuits reaching forward for the prize that God has in store?

He is “a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6 NKJV).

Remember, we do not do good things to earn our salvation. That is a gift from God! However, we will stand before Him one day to give an account of our lives on this earth. He is “a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him” (Heb. 11:6 NKJV). What a prize it will be to know we have given our all and to hear Him say, “Well done.”

APPLICATION
– Spend some time thinking about standing before the Lord one day. Ask Him to help you always remember that we will all give an account for what we’ve been given. Ask Him to help you use all that He has given you for His glory. Thank Him that He rewards those who live for Him.
– Pray that our church family would always remember that we will stand before the Lord one day. Pray that we would be burdened to live for Him while on this earth. Pray that we would use the tools of Connect Groups, a new Ministry Platform, Liberty Anywhere, and our existing campuses to the praise of His glory. May we be faithful with all that God has given us!
– Pray for those who do not know the prize that our God has in store for those who know Him. Commit to doing what you can to take the Gospel to them. There is still one week remaining to serve through Liberty Loves Hampton Roads. Go to www.libertylive.com/llhr to sign up.

40 Days of Prayer | Day 25

day25REACH FORWARD13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead… Philippians 3:13 NKJV

7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.2 Timothy 4:7-8 NIV

Paul referenced eternity a good bit throughout his writings. As evidenced by his purpose, priorities, and pursuit, He lived with the end in mind! The past two days we’ve read 1 Timothy 4:8 where he says he knows that his efforts hold promise for the life to come, and 1 Corinthians 9:25 where he says he knows he is going to receive a crown that lasts forever. These are just a couple of examples.

In the verses above, Paul is reflecting over his 30 years of serving the Lord. Maybe he’s recalling all the ways he “trained” and “fought” to honor God, or maybe he’s reminiscing about the sacrifices he made and the persecution he endured. We don’t know exactly what memories are going through his mind, but we do know he knows his end is near.

Paul is about to meet the One for whom he has given his all. He is about to receive the prize (1 Cor. 9:27, Phil. 3:14) he has lived for all these years. If you were in his situation, how would you feel? Would you be able to say that you fought the good fight and that you have kept the faith? Would you meet Jesus knowing that you lived your life on earth with the purpose of knowing Him and making Him known?

There is a prize in store! One day we will be in the presence of the Lord.

Paul wasn’t perfect. No one is. But, with Jesus’ blood as his only plea, he knew what was waiting for him. The same thing is waiting for us. There is a prize in store! One day we will be in the presence of the Lord. He will reward us for all that we did for Him on this earth. We will be able to offer all of those rewards back to Him!

APPLICATION
– Spend some time thanking God that through Jesus’ blood you are declared righteous. Thank Him that you will get to spend eternity in Heaven with Him one day. Pray that He would help you to live with the end in mind. May you remember that there is a great prize in store for those who honor Him while on this earth.
– Pray that we as a church would be ever mindful of the great prize that is waiting for us. Pray that prize would motivate everything we do. May we launch more campuses, start more Connect Groups, implement our new Ministry Platform, and enhance our online presence through Liberty Anywhere to the best of our ability. May we give everything we have for the cause of Christ!
– Ask that God would give you a burden for others who do not know all that Jesus’ sacrifice means. Pray that God would use you, and that He would use our church, to share with them the good news.

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