February 23 – Ephesians 3:12

“In Him and through faith in Him we may approach God with freedom and confidence.”

Ephesians 3:12

We’ve all heard that we could bring any of our petitions and confessions to God since He already knows what’s on our heart. Still, that isn’t always enough to convince us that we can freely approach Him. Sure, we’ll bring our prayer requests from friends, our daily troubles, petitions about our kids or minor confessions. But do we confidently bring Him ALL we have: all our worries, all our fears, all our requests, all our confessions, all our praise?

Before this promise in verse twelve, Paul explains that God’s plan for us was accomplished through Jesus. Jesus paid for our mistakes on the cross and now sits at the right hand of God petitioning and interceding on our behalf. Therefore, when we approach God, we do not approach Him with the broken and sinful hearts, but rather, we approach Him with hearts that have been made perfect and clean through Jesus. The question is, do we believe that? Do we believe that we can approach Him with freedom and confidence because Jesus restored our relationship with God?

If we do, the way we approach God changes. It goes from a teenager who tells her parents half-truths and discloses only necessary information while trying to fix her own problems to a child who brings all they have and all they know to their parents any time triumphs or troubles arise. If you are a parent, you know which you’d prefer. God wants us to bring all we have to Him with freedom and confidence. For many of us that may mean we need to change our prayer habits. We need to shift from a once daily praise before a meal to a constant conversation disclosing all. What do you need to freely and confidently approach the Lord with today?

February 22 – Philippians 4:6-7

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”

Philippians 4:6-7

A few years ago, I had the revelation that I was living my life partnered with anxiety. While I loved Jesus and trusted in His amazing plan for my life, I equally allowed worry to dictate my thoughts and actions.
I struggled to control situations I felt were in my power to control and eventually, I spun out. My health plummeted, I retreated from church, and my job suffered. Simply put, I let the voice of anxiety speak louder than the voice of Jesus and I allowed my ‘relationship’ with worry to overtake every situation.

This passage offered me a way out of my downward spiral. I realized that I was bowing down to anxiety and disobeying God’s word: “do not be anxious about anything”. The solution to truly not be anxious is found in relationship with Jesus. Pray! Talk to Him anytime and anywhere, and ask Him for what you need with a thankful heart. When this happens, God promises us to give us His peace.

For years I thought I had His peace, but God’s peace goes beyond our own understanding. In other words, it is a peace that is experienced when we give up our right to know everything. It is a humbling and courageous thing to let go of the hand of anxiety and embrace God’s peace. We only have this one life to live and Jesus offers us full access to His peace through relationship with Him. What the enemy wants to steal from us, God promises to give – a peace that goes beyond our personal understanding.

February 21 – John 6:35

“Then Jesus declared, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.’”

John 6:35

Have you ever had one of those ‘defining the relationship’ conversations? It can be with a spouse, a boss, a friend, or anyone else in your life you have a significant relationship with. When the conversation is over you have a better understanding of where you stand in the relationship. You could say that Jesus makes seven defining the relationship statements in John’s gospel and this promise is one of them.

When Jesus says, “I am the bread of life” He is not talking about actual bread and He is not talking about our physical need to eat or drink. He is defining the relationship between the people who believe in Him with a promise. The promise is that Jesus is the only one who can truly meet all of our needs. In John 6:34, they ask Jesus a “want” question and Jesus responds with a “need” answer. They want bread (physical food), but He wants to give something significantly greater than a loaf of bread. He is the only one who can truly satisfy our deepest desires (our need) to be loved and be known. All we need to do is come to Him and believe in Him. This defining the relationship conversation with Jesus is about answering a question. Do I find my deepest satisfaction in Jesus?

February 20 – Prayer

God calls us to take part in His transforming work and promises that we will be transformed in the process. As a praying church, we believe the Gospel changes our lives. Spend some time today in prayer and use the following as a guide.

Praise God for who He is: Prayers of praise are focused entirely on God. It is our expression of adoration for all that God is – His holiness, greatness, love, and majesty (Psalm 71:8). Take a few minutes to focus on God and praise Him for who He is. Make a list.

Thanksgiving for what He has done: Prayers of thanksgiving acknowledge what God has done and is doing in our lives, homes, job, community, bodies, and the church (Psalm 107:8-9). Spend some time thanking God for what He has done in your life.

Confession of our sins: An awareness of God’s presence reveals our own unworthiness. In confession we acknowledge our sin and ask God for forgiveness (2 Chronicles 7:14). Take a few minutes to confess your sin to God.

Ask (Life, Community, Campus, Church): Prayers of petition include asking God specific things for our lives, our community, our campuses, and the local and global church (Philippians 4:6-7). Take a few minutes to ask God for specific things.

February 19 – John 4:13-14

“Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again,
but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst.
Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a
spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

John 4:13-14

We’ve all had that moment: the hike that was longer than anticipated, the workout that was more than we bargained for, the family picnic was perfect except for the forgotten water jug. The moment when it seems like the only thing we can think about is a cold glass of water and when we get it, it feels so triumphant that there might as well be angels singing and confetti poppers exploding all around us.

Maybe you’re like me and you’ve had times of feeling spiritually “dehydrated”. What you reached for to “quench your thirst” leaves you needing to come back again and again and again. The big purchase soon became mundane, the trip you planned came and went, the relationship fizzled, the new hobby lost steam, the workouts weren’t sustainable. We expect these plans, relationships and experiences to withstand the test of time when, in reality, no matter how long they do last, they always leave us longing for something greater.

In John 4, Jesus promises to be our SATISFIER. He promises that He is our only chance to “never thirst” again in this life or for all of eternity. Maybe this is hard for us to accept because we’ve felt temporarily satisfied by things of this world before. We’ve convinced ourselves that we have everything we need in our spouse, our children, our career, our church or our calling. The world is constantly telling us what the next-best-thing is that’s sure to take us where we want to be. We get our temporary fix and move on to the next thing, not realizing that we will eventually be back at square one. Jesus doesn’t want that life for us. He doesn’t want us to feel empty, unmotivated or without purpose. He wants us to be WHOLE. And He takes the guess work out of the equation in John 4 when He promises that the “water” He gives us will create a well inside of us that will never run dry. Will we give up our material and temporary comforts in order to let the God of all creation complete us?

February 18 – James 1:17

“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the
Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.”

James 1:17

All you have to do is turn on the news or scroll social media to see how crazy our world is. It seems like now, more than ever, people are searching for something stable to put their hope in – something secure to build their lives on. James tells us that the only unshakeable foundation is a life built on the promises of God. He does not change like shifting shadows. He’s constant. He’s present. He’s near. He’s given us the Bible – our rock to hold us steady through life’s storms.

In Matthew chapter 7, Jesus tells a story about a man who built his house on a rock and a man who built his house on sand. When the rain came down and the winds blew and beat against the two houses, it was the house standing on the rock that did not fall. Jesus is saying that the man who builds his house on the solid foundation of God’s promises won’t buckle under the pressures of life’s uncertainties. Our lives can’t be built on the right job or the right person, the right appearances or the right possessions. God is steadfast and we can build our lives on His promises.

February 17 – Romans 8:1

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Romans 8:1

Most of us are familiar with that dreaded feeling you get when you see the blue lights flashing behind your vehicle and you know you’ve been speeding. We broke the law, we are guilty, we got caught, and a penalty is coming our way. But what if that police officer took out his or her money and paid the ticket for us? We’d be amazed at their grace and generosity, knowing we are no longer condemned for that moment of speeding.

Ever feel condemned in your heart, knowing the sin in your life? Ever feel like someone or something disapproves of you? Ever feel lost in your guilt? This promise is magnificent, a promise that holds true when we are in Christ Jesus. NOT CONDEMNED! And what makes the promise so amazing is twofold: one, this is God’s doing. It can’t be broken. He keeps His promises. And He is the Judge! Second, we don’t deserve it! We actually deserve condemnation. Jesus took our sin, paid the price for us and gave us His righteousness. So now, in Jesus, the Judge looks at us and says we are no longer condemned. Celebrate that promise in Jesus today!

Looking to Lent

Ash Wednesday Services on February 17th, at The Venue, at 7:00am, 12:15pm, and 6:00pm. You can sign-up online at CUCHURCH.COM or using the links below. This will be a shorter service to kick off the season of Lent.

Sign-up for the 7:00 AM | 12:15pm | 6:00pm

Starting on Ash Wednesday there will be a CU Church Lent Devotional. CU Church has put together a daily devotional that’s starts on Ash Wednesday and goes to Easter. This devotional focuses on the promises from scripture. You can find it online or contact the church office for a hard copy.