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Devotionals

For several years, Christian Union called on Christians to join us two times per year in seeking God through fasting. These sorts of fasting initiatives are now part of Christian Union Day & Night, but the devotionals that were written for those fasts have continued to strengthen and encourage believers, so we have made them available here.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Crosby-Trinity
Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” - Jonah 1: 1-2

This passage shows the twinning seen throughout scripture of God’s righteousness and compassion.

- God acknowledges Ninevah’s dignity (“that great city”) and seeks its repentance.
- God sees Ninevah’s great evil and is angered and saddened by it.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Even within the evangelical community, there has been debate over the last decade on the crucial biblical teaching of justification. Luther called justification “the doctrine upon which the church stands or falls,” so we want to make sure that we put up fences to protect this precious truth.

What is so precious about justification? We could recite a long list to answer this question, but I want to focus in on one particular reason why this truth is precious, namely, it is the spark which ignites the fire of love for Jesus in the hearts of sinners like you and me. Let me show you this from Luke 7:36 – 50.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me shall not hunger, and whoever believes in me shall never thirst.” (John 6:35 ESV)

“Daddy!  Are you hungry?  What’s for dinner?  Can we go to…Shake Shack?!”  This conversation occurs semi-regularly in our family; my kids are well aware of my proclivity for Shake Shack.  They attempt to use my disposition toward their own ends in ways that are savvy beyond their years.  It’s not uncommon, however, in consideration of their question, for me to need to pause and take account of the state of my stomach.  I have to stop myself, attempt to gauge what is happening in my mid-section, and determine just how hungry I am.  It often surprises me that I can get so caught up with what I am doing (work, the NY Times, a good book, a basketball game on TV) that I don’t even realize, until I stop, pause, and assess, that I actually am hungry!  Certainly there are times when sizable hunger interrupts those distractions of its own accord and lets me know, in no uncertain terms, that it needs to be assuaged.  But there are also times when my physical hunger goes ignored until someone helps me to stop and recognize my own internal state.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

It is possible to do all the right things in all the wrong ways. You may already know this, but it is something very easy to forget. It, therefore, ought to come as no surprise that we find warnings about this very thing throughout Scripture, especially in the Prophets. It is put perhaps most poignantly in the first chapter of Isaiah:

Hear the word of the LORD,
    you rulers of Sodom!
Give ear to the teaching of our God,
    you people of Gomorrah!
"What to me is the multitude of your sacrifices?
    says the LORD;
I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams
    and the fat of well-fed beasts;
I do not delight in the blood of bulls,
    or of lambs, or of goats.
"When you come to appear before me,
    who has required of you
this trampling of my courts?

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Our culture is obsessed with being the most famous, the best, and the brightest. Perhaps it's not our culture so much as our human nature just exaggerated by technological capabilities. Regardless, this obsession has taken the secret, silent beauty out of the hard and mundane. The problem is that while perusing Instagram or Facebook, discontentment can begin to creep in as you creep on other people's so-called lives. We want to climb mountaintops and reach the stars so badly that the concept of being faithful in the little feels boring. But the truth is, the daily grind of small, faithful diligence is as admirable as it is difficult. Personally, my ability to be diligent is far from amazing, but with each new day I see that God has sustained me from the last and that I get to start over (Lamentations 3:23, Romans 8:28).

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

Hebrews 13:5 says, “Keep your lives free from the love of money and be content with what you have. . .” That’s good enough advice, if nearly impossible to follow.  But what I find so compelling in it is the reasoning that follows the directive.  Do you know what it is?  If not, take a guess.  What source of motivating power does the author append to this enjoinder?

Give up? It is this:  “. . . because God has said, ‘Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.’”

Dear Friend in Christ,
 
Thank you for joining with me and hundreds of others to seek God’s face in a special, focused way these last 40 days.  He no doubt has given you breakthroughs in your life and ministry, but we are also trusting Him to change the spiritual atmosphere of the nation.  As we continue to walk with Him, asking and pleading with Him to help His servants to be instruments of grace and change in this nation, please remember that He hears and responds.  

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

“He made known to us the mystery of His will….the summing up of all things in Christ.”- Ephesians 1:9

For almost two decades I have traversed this nation and the world, encouraging students and campus ministry leaders to seek God for revival and awakening.  I am passionate about seeing transformation in the Church and in culture at large.  Too often, however, I see well-meaning leaders, when considering revival and awakening, skip past the “who” and move on to the “what.”  Here is the “what.” Revival is the large-scale bringing of life back into the Church.  Awakening is the large-scale effect of revival in the Church upon those who aren’t presently following Jesus.  The important questions are these: “To whom are we being revived?” and “To whom is the culture awakened?”  We are the best agents for transformation when we carefully consider these two questions.

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

"For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery." - Galatians 5:1

The book of Galatians, one of two key New Testament books of the Reformation, was written to explain the nature of spiritual freedom in contrast to spiritual slavery. Understanding freedom in Christ liberates the lover of God in powerful, extraordinary ways.  Not surprisingly, misunderstanding this great doctrine leads to spiritual frustration, hardship, and slavery. 

A Prayer and Fasting Devotional

“Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge. I say to the LORD, ‘You are my Lord; I have no good apart from you.’...The sorrows of those who run after another god shall multiply...I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” - Psalm 16:1, 2, 4, 8-11