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turtle30cshell Daily Devotions For January 31, 2020
Spiritual Discipline

Daily Devotions:
by Christina Farris

Mark 9:13-29 KJV
13 But I say unto you, That Elias is indeed come, and they have done unto him whatsoever they listed, as it is written of him.
14 And when he came to his disciples, he saw a great multitude about them, and the scribes questioning with them.
15 And straightway all the people, when they beheld him, were greatly amazed, and running to him saluted him.
16 And he asked the scribes, What question ye with them?
17 And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit;
18 And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.
19 He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me.
20 And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.
21 And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him? And he said, Of a child.
22 And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.
23 Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.
24 And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.
25 When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.
26 And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead.
27 But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.
28 And when he was come into the house, his disciples asked him privately, Why could not we cast him out?
29 And he said unto them, This kind can come forth by nothing, but by prayer and fasting.

Spiritual discipline is a subject not really talked about in Christiandom for whatever reason beyond the season of lent. Most people lives are so busy the idea of prayer and fasting may seem to only complicate the issue of spiritual discipline, beyond reading a devotion and praying for needs of people we know on a daily bases. Why is spiritual discipline in the since of fasting and prayer so important. This story of a boy possessed might be a good reason, for the simple fact he could not be made whole without spiritual discipline by the disciples, only Jesus was able to make him whole.

When disciples asked why the demon would not leave when they rebuke it,Jesus said this kind took prayer and fasting. Jesus is saying despite your devotion to me, and following me, there is something you need to do that is going to enable this boy deliverance and that is prayer and fasting, or spiritual discipline, meaning denial of self through fasting and prayer. During this time of self denial, or giving up one desires, prayer is important to communicate with God. Fasting often is consider to go without food, but some have said denial of even a luxury, or something one enjoys to take time to prayer is also a form of fasting. Ash Wednesday is February 17 and will continue until first part of April. The point being it is a time of self denial, and prayer, but for what purpose, if as believers sins are covered by the blood of Jesus? It is about discipline, or willingness to take time to deny oneself of food, luxury or something that special to prayer, and seek spiritual renewal/revival in the form of seeking God and his wisdom and truth for problems in our world, our work, our home, our churches and ourselves. Teaching ourselves how to be more focused on God and his his will for our life. The winter months to Easter is chosen in preparation of understanding Christ own journey to the cross of Calvary, and his discipline in obeying God knowing his body was about to be in a state of physical pain for obedience. Are we so discipline to count the cost of our own spiritual journey, not to gain a pat on the back, but to acknowledge our own willingness to love, forgive, share God's hope in our daily lives even if it cost us the whole world.

The cross should be about Christ suffering alone, but it is also about the teaching of his willingness to pay the price for our sin. Realigning our faith in Christ and to focus on the cross and reason for the cross. To understand what God did for us by sending his own Son, so we might be more discipline in our work, our action, our life for him. Denial of self will for time with God. Self will, the desire to do what we want to do because we can. Denial of self will maybe as simple as to give up say coffee, tv, book, time with someone that dominating one's life, if it is controlling you and taking your time from God. One taking time to fast in this way besides in a time of food denial means time to pray. How it is easy to find something else to do in that time slot instead of prayering and seeking God, one maybe daydreaming and not focusing on God? Examing the cross, the work of Christ before the cross and seeking the deliverance of whatever is separating you from doing the will God in your life is important. Reevaluating his will in your life is a good reason to fast.

No doubt as disciples were on the road of faith after the cross the need for prayer and fasting would be more prevalent in their daily routine, as they taught, preached, prayed for those that were sick and so forth. Jesus took time away from his disciples to pray to his heavenly Father. Teaching us even if we have a crowd around us, we need to take time away from the crowd to pray and fast. In other words if we want to see the miracles of faith, we got to talk to the author of those miracles. We can not just go around and say in Jesus name let it be done, let the healing begin. We need to build our relationship with God, so we hear clearly when we pray for someone for deliverance from sin, illness and even demons. One can accept Jesus as Savior but think everything okay and they do not need to talk to him again, but guess what we need to talk to God daily. That is a form of discipline in itself, learning to devout time with God.

The time of fasting and prayer over a period of time, should not be down for legalism reasons, but done to draw close to God and to know God's will for one's life. Through February to Easter time is often spent on the road to the cross as well as the ministry of Jesus. The focus not for legalism but to help people in their journey of self discipline to know God and to learn to seek his will in one's life. Learning about the footsteps of Christ ministry is important. Yet to know the cross each us must carry is important in our journey. The cross of following in Christ footsteps and God's will, so He by the Holy Spirit can empower us to do his will.

Dear Heavenly Father, help us on our journey of faith to be more spiritually discipline and to draw nearer to you in faith, through fasting, and prayer. In Jesus precious name, Amen.

Continual Scripture Study: Isaiah 58:1-12 KJV
1 Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins.
2 Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God: they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God.
3 Wherefore have we fasted, say they, and thou seest not? wherefore have we afflicted our soul, and thou takest no knowledge? Behold, in the day of your fast ye find pleasure, and exact all your labours.
4 Behold, ye fast for strife and debate, and to smite with the fist of wickedness: ye shall not fast as ye do this day, to make your voice to be heard on high.
5 Is it such a fast that I have chosen? a day for a man to afflict his soul? is it to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him? wilt thou call this a fast, and an acceptable day to the LORD?
6 Is not this the fast that I have chosen? to loose the bands of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free, and that ye break every yoke?
7 Is it not to deal thy bread to the hungry, and that thou bring the poor that are cast out to thy house? when thou seest the naked, that thou cover him; and that thou hide not thyself from thine own flesh?
8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thine health shall spring forth speedily: and thy righteousness shall go before thee; the glory of the LORD shall be thy rereward.
9 Then shalt thou call, and the LORD shall answer; thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou take away from the midst of thee the yoke, the putting forth of the finger, and speaking vanity;
10 And if thou draw out thy soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted soul; then shall thy light rise in obscurity, and thy darkness be as the noonday:
11 And the LORD shall guide thee continually, and satisfy thy soul in drought, and make fat thy bones: and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a spring of water, whose waters fail not.
12 And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places: thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; and thou shalt be called, The repairer of the breach, The restorer of paths to dwell in.


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