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Determined!

Prayer Journal

Ne w Ps a l m i s t B a p t i s t C h u rc h

IT S WITHIN R EACH
Bishop Walter S. Thomas, Sr., Pastor

Determined! Prayer Journal

Message

Bishops

Introduction

Stretch! Its Within Reach

This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? Isaiah 14:26-27 (NIV)

Dear New Psalmist Family,

Welcome and congratulations on accepting the challenge to deepen your Christian discipleship and relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ. You will be in good company as you join many others in the New Psalmist Baptist Church who will seek God in new and greater ways.

Last years Stretch Prayer Journal was a resounding success and this years will be equally life changing. We face so many challenges today that we are often tempted to ignore our relationship with God and relationships with others, but God wants us to be whole and to get closer to Him. We must take time out of our busy schedules to find quality time to get closer to our Lord. We can do just that with our 40-Day Stretch Devotional Guide, which will guide us through the last four themes of our Year of Determination. This 40-Day Stretch Devotional Guide is designed to help us seek Gods guidance and direction concerning our relationship with Him, our families and our church. We must strengthen our relationships by being intentional in our actions. In other words, we must be determined. May God hear and answer our prayers as we S T R E T C H and are DETERMINED to: Be like Jesus, Be holy,

The Prayer Team has created this instructional guide for every individual and family to achieve spiritual growth. When we consider what a difference one day can make in Gods presence, imagine the difference 40 days can make when the entire congregation prays for the will of God! We hope that this devotional guide will answer some basic questions about what you will experience over the next 40 days. Why Should I Participate in This 40-Day Experience? A goal of the 40-Day Experience is for one day to lead to 40 days, and for 40 days to lead to a lifestyle of prayer. Here is the biblical significance of 40 days: Judgment. 40 days was a sign that God was removing evil. (Genesis 7:4) Preparation. 40 days was a sign that God was getting people ready for action. (Matthew 4:2) Restoration. 40 days was a sign that God wanted to win people to Himself. (Jonah 3:4)

Be thankful and celebrate in this, our Year of Determination. In His service and yours,

Prayer and fasting provide an opportunity to know God better. To know God is to realize that we are in a covenant relationship with Him. We are His children. He loves us and wants to spend time with us.

So get ready to be Determined to s t r e t c h your faith and be blessed in ways that God has ordained from the beginning of time. Stretch yourself to move toward God, and know that its the Year of Determination!

Stretch! Its Within Reach

Bishop Walter Scott Thomas, Sr.

If you want to go deeper with God, you must think about the possibilities. Bishop Walter S. Thomas, Sr.

A Guide for Prayer: Our Determination; Gods Design

How to Use This Prayer Journal


This Journal is intended to be used by each family and individual in the New Psalmist Baptist Church. Each devotional day in the Determined! Journal includes a key scripture to READ, a meditation on which to REFLECT, and a prayer focus with which you may RESPOND to God. New this year is a REACT activity for Children and a (^_^) RL! (Real LIfe) Activity for Youth. Lastly, each days offering ends with a REACH statement to assist you with journaling and to lead you to action.

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What Is Prayer? Prayer is a way of communicating with God, expressing our devotion to our heavenly Father, and inviting Him to talk to us as we talk to Him. Charles Stanley stresses that if we ever want to have a meaningful interaction with another human being, we must communicate. Prayer is no different. Why do we pray? Gods Word commands us to pray (Luke 18:1; Acts 6:4; Mark 14:38; Philippians 4:6; Colossians 4:2; 1 Timothy 2:1,2). Prayer releases Gods great power to change the course of nature, people, and nations. When should we pray? Gods Word commands us to Pray continually (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We can be in prayer throughout the day, expressing and demonstrating our devotion to God as we go about our daily tasks. It is not always necessary to be on our knees, or even to be in a quiet room to pray. God wants us to be in touch with Him wherever we are. What should we include in our prayers? Although prayer cannot be reduced to a formula, certain basic elements should be included in our regular communication with God: Adoration, Confession, Thanksgiving, Supplication (ACTS). Adoration - To adore God is to worship and praise Him, to honor and exalt Him in our heart and mind and with our lips. Confession - When our discipline of prayer begins with adoration, the Holy Spirit has opportunity to reveal any sin in our life that needs to be confessed. Thanksgiving - An attitude of thanksgiving to God, for who He is and for the benefits we enjoy because we belong to Him, enables us to recognize that He controls all things - not just the blessings, but the problems and adversities as well. As we approach God with a thankful heart, He becomes strong on our behalf. Supplication - Supplication means to petition God for our own needs and to intercede for others. For example, you can pray that your inner person be renewed and empowered by the Holy Spirit. You can also pray for others, including your family, neighbors, friends, the nation, as well as those in authority and leadership. Pray for the salvation of souls, for opportunities to introduce others to Christ, and for the fulfillment of the Great Commission. The following guide puts ACTS in a child friendly format: http://www.kidsprayer. com/02-grown_ups/downloads/prayer_clock_w_border.pdf

Here is how you can use the Journal: . . . As A Family It is through joining together in prayer that Gods Will and power for the church will become real in our hearts and homes. Set aside a time when you know the family will be free of distractions. Have one of your children read the Scripture for the day, and discuss the prayer focus. Then, pray together as God leads. . . . As A Single Person Jesus, a life-long single, often sought time to pray and to seek guidance from heaven. Single people are often more free to find time to speak with God. If you believe it will be difficult for you to pray alone, commit to praying with another single person in the church as often as you are able.

. . . As A Married Couple Praying together as a couple will keep God at the center of your marriage. It will also help you develop a deeper ability to communicate with each other. As you use the 40-Day Journal with your spouse, commit to reading and reflecting on the meditations as you continue to place God at the center of your covenant relationship. . . . With Your Children Know that God will stretch each of us during this 40-day journey. Children will also grow in their faith when they see how God answers their prayers. Our children and youth need to know that God hears every prayer as they learn to focus on others through prayer in this experience. Be sure they know that the purpose of prayer is to talk to God. Encourage your children to pray boldly during this experience and teach them to begin with sentence prayers like, I thank God for. . . or I pray for. . . Discuss the daily meditations with them, and record their thoughts in your journal. We have included in this Stretch Journal specific ageappropriate activities for children and youth. Encourage them as they explore the wonders

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of God in ways that will empower them to become strong in the Lord. If you are unable to complete the REACT or RL! activity each day, dont worry. However, try to find time at least once each week to discuss their progress and the activities that they are to accomplish. Above all, instill in your children the sense that they are partnering with God, through prayer, to change the world. According to the Barna Group, children aged 4-14 are five times more likely to make a decision to follow Jesus than at any other age. . . . For Your Personal Spiritual Growth Journaling gives us a way to reflect upon the work of God, Gods continual presence in our lives, what we pray, and how God responds. Prayer warriors like John Wesley and Mother Teresa recorded what they heard from heaven. A journal helps us to remember what God has told us and can help us to learn about ourselves and God. We have included brief trigger phrases for each day in order to aid you in reaching toward God. We have also provided throughout the Journal places for you to review your progress. . . . To Stretch! Whether you are a single person, married couple, or family, you can grow in your faith during the next forty days. To prevent the enemy from blocking your blessing, you should: 1. Choose a DEFINITE TIME. Find when prayer works for you. For example, if you are a morning person, dont choose the time before you go to bed. 2. Make a specific PLAN. People rarely plan to fail, but they do fail to plan. If you decide now what you will do each day, you will have a greater chance of success. 3. Choose a specific PLACE. God placed us in physical bodies for a reason. We tend to associate certain places with certain activities. Find the place where you will be able to spend time with God. You might consider choosing your place and time each week during the 40-day experience. You can write this in each of the spaces provided on the Prayer and Fasting Chart. Check the box next to each date as you, your spouse or your children complete the prayer for that day.

Fasting
Fasting is choosing to give up something you really want in order to focus on prayer for a definite period of time. In this context, the word fast doesnt mean to speed up, it means to slow down, to stop the common and ordinary things (like eating, for example) in order to focus your attention on your relationship with Jesus. Prayer normally involves your spirit and your soul (mind, will and emotions), but when you fast you get your body involved. You are praying with your whole being.

The most biblical and common fast is to give up food. You might want to fast from a meal once a day, an entire day or for one day a week. Still others may give up certain kinds of food for the full forty days (such as fried foods, fast-food, soft-drinks, and sweets). If medical restrictions prevent you from skipping meals, fasting does not have to be limited to food. You can also fast from some of your hobbies, such as television. Use the time you would be watching television or surfing the Internet to talk to God. In his book, the Celebration of Discipline, Richard Foster explains that:

Fasting must center on God. It should draw us closer to God, where we will experience a deeper relationship with Him.

Fasting reveals the things that control us. We tend to cover up what is going on inside of us by indulging or overindulging in food and other things. Fasting brings these inner issues to the surface. If pride controls us, it will be revealed almost immediately. David said, I put on sackcloth and humbled myself with fasting. (Psalm 35:13) Anger, bitterness, jealousy, strife, fear - if they are within us, will surface during fasting. At first, we will rationalize that our anger, for example, is due to our hunger. We will then discover that we are angry not because of hunger, but because the spirit of anger is within us. We can rejoice in this knowledge because we know that healing is available through the power of Christ. Fasting helps us keep our balance in life. How easily we begin to allow nonessentials to take precedence in our lives. How quickly we crave things we do not need until we are enslaved by them. Paul wrote, Everything is permissible for me--but I will not be mastered by anything. (I Cor. 6:12) No, I beat my

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body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (I Cor. 9:27)

So we fasted and petitioned our God about this, and He answered our prayer. Ezra 8:23 (NIV)

40 DAYS OF PRAYER AND FASTING


DATE
October 14 October 15 October 16 October 17 October 18 October 19 October 20 October 21 October 22 October 23 October 24 October 25 October 26 October 27 October 28 October 29 October 30 October 31 November 1 November 2 November 3 November 4 November 5 November 6 November 7 November 8 November 9 November 10 November 11 November 12 November 13 November 14 November 15 November 16 November 17 November 18 November 19 November 20 November 21 November 22

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Absolute Fast - There are several examples in Scripture of what has been called an absolute fast, or an abstaining from both food and water. It usually appears as a desperate measure to meet a dire emergency. Upon learning that she and the entire Jewish race would be executed, Esther instructed Mordecai, Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. (Esther 4:16) In the New Testament, Paul engaged in a three-day absolute fast following his encounter with the living Christ. (Acts 9:9) It must be emphasized that the absolute fast is the exception and should never be engaged in unless one has a very clear command from God, and then for not more than three days.

Part Two: Determined to Be Holy

Partial Fast - The Bible describes what could be considered a partial fast: that is, there is a restriction of diet, but not total abstention. Although the normal fast seemed to be the custom with the prophet Daniel, there was an occasion where for three weeks he ate no choice food; no meat or wine touched my lips; and I used no lotions at all until the three weeks were over. (Daniel 10:3) Daniels fast is a partial fast, which consists only of vegetables, fruits and water. The Daniel fast is a way of denying the body of meat, coffee and certain other foods that the body craves, without totally abstaining from food.

Part One: Determined to Be Like Jesus

What are the different types of Fasts? Normal Fast - This involves abstaining from all food, solid or liquid, but not from water. In Jesus forty-day fast, we are told that He ate nothing and toward the end of the fast that He was hungry and that Satan tempted Him to eat, indicating that the abstinence was from food, but not from water. (Luke 4:2)

DAY
Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday

TIME

PLACE

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As you are stretching your faith these next 40 days, know that God will honor your desire to draw closer to Him. He, too, is Determined!

part Four: Determined to Celebrate

Keep in mind that if you decide to fast from food, you should prepare your body both before and after your fast. Before your fast, try to drink more fluids and reduce your portion sizes. After your fast, avoid pigging out. Gradually increase portion sizes, or slowly reintroduce into your diet those foods that you have avoided.

Part Three: Determined to Be Thankful

Stretch! Its Within Reach

PART ONE: DAYS ONE TO TEN: Determined To Be Like Jesus 1. Like Jesus: Determined to Be Determined 2. Like Jesus: Holding Out for the Gold 3. Like Jesus: Humble 4. Like Jesus: Forgiving 5. Like Jesus: A Friend 6. Like Jesus: Victorious 7. Like Jesus: Holding Out Against Temptation 8. Like Jesus: Light of the World 9. Like Jesus: Compassionate 10. Like Jesus: Connected PART TWO: DAYS ELEVEN TO TWENTY: Determined To Be Holy 11. Holy: Wholly 12. Holy: Disciplined to be Different 13. Holy: Daily 14. Holy: In My Walk 15. Holy: Chosen 16. Holy: Keeping the Faith 17. Holy: Our Protection 18. Holy: Gods Work, Gods Way 19. Holy: In an Unholy World 20. Holy: A Holy People for the Holy City of Zion PART THREE: DAYS TWENTY-ONE TO THIRTY: Determined To Be Thankful 21. Thankful: For My Blessings 22. Thankful: Not Alone 23. Thankful: He is Trustworthy 24. Thankful: He Sees the Big Picture 25. Thankful: For Answered Prayer 26. Thankful: In Every Circumstance 27. Thankful: For Jesus Example 28. Thankful: Beyond Because 29. Thankful: He Hears Us 30. Thankful: He Listens PART FOUR: DAYS THIRTY ONE TO FORTY: Determined To Celebrate 31. Celebrate: Christ Who Is Exalted 32. Celebrate: Christ Who Does the Miraculous 33. Celebrate: Christ Who Never Leaves Us 34. Celebrate: Our Living Christ 35. Celebrate: Our Healing Christ 36. Celebrate: Our Caring Christ 37. Celebrate: Our Amazing King 38. Celebrate: Our Promise-Keeping King 39. Celebrate: Our Ever- Present Lord 40. Celebrate: The Journey

PART ONE: DETERMINED TO BE LIKE JESUS


Days One to Ten I in them and you in me. May they be brought to complete unity to let the world know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me. John 17:23 [NIV] Like Jesus Over the next ten days, you will work to become more like Jesus by focusing on Jesus character and by taking concrete steps to strengthen your relationships. Jesus is the ultimate model for us. We are told to fix our eyes (Hebrews 12:2) on Him, so its fitting that we should start our journey by learning to imitate Jesus.

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Jesus lived in community and fellowship with His disciples. He welcomed others into the Kingdom by accepting those who had been outcast, forgiving those who were lost, healing those who were broken, and loving those who had been forgotten. We are called to do the same. We can begin this process by looking at those parts of Jesus character and life and modeling our mission after His. Determined: On A Mission Begin by creating a Mission Statement that you believe defines the character of Christ. Ask God which character traits He most wants you (or your family) to develop. Is it Jesus love? His faithfulness? His humility? His patience? His concern? His prayer life? Writing a Mission Statement In order to develop your mission statement, ask yourself (or your family) simple questions: How can I (we) become more connected with others? What must I (we) do to grow in my (our) relationships? What must I (we) do to grow in my (our) relationships with my (our) Church family? At the end of this process your (or your familys) mission statement may look like this: My (Our) mission is to share Gods love with others and with my (our) Church family. My (Our) mission is to raise money for our new Church home. My (Our) mission is to create a supportive atmosphere where others are confident in developing their God-given talents in order to serve my (our) Church and community.

How to Use Your Mission Statement You now have another tool to use to become like Jesus. Dont let it get rusty. After the statement is written, hang it in a prominent place. Write or share your family mission statement on our church website at www.newpsalmist.org. Memorize it and apply it. As we are determined in our efforts, we will see that at every step: God calls you, but then you have to decide whether to go Gods way. Bishop Walter S. Thomas, Sr.

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Day One

LIKE JESUS: DETERMINED TO BE DETERMINED


READ

Ephesians 1:17-18

REACT CHILDREN You are already a blessing to your church family and to your parents because they love you! Think of new ways that you can help out in your home or in school today. (^_^) RL! YOUTH Are you involved in a ministry? Log on to the churchs website and look at the list of ministries on http://www.newpsalmist.org/ministries.html. Ask God to show you where He wants you to serve His Kingdom. REACH I am (We are) determined to be like Jesus. I (We) will focus on the purpose and plan of God today by:

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I askask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of gloryto make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do. Ephesians 1:17-18 (The Message) REFLECT Jesus never owned a Blackberry or a Day Planner, yet He was never late for an appointment. Jesus never had a bank account, yet all of His needs were met. Jesus never went to college, yet He taught others about the Kingdom. Jesus never went to medical school, but He healed the sick. Jesus was never distracted, off-task or in the wrong place. In short, Jesus knew His purpose. More importantly, Jesus accomplished His purpose. He made it happen. He was able to say, at His last breath, It is finished. (John 19:30) What about you? What is it that you were placed on this earth to do? Are you working to reach that goal? Are your eyes focused and clear on your call? If not, what will you do to make it happen in your life to glorify God? RESPOND Dear God, help New Psalmist to be focused and clear on what you are calling us to do. Show us Your purpose and Your plan in the Holy City of Zion. May each member learn and understand his/her value to the Kingdom, and be inspired to contribute in new ways.

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Day Two

LIKE JESUS: HOLDING OUT FOR THE GOLD


READ Revelation 3:11 I am coming soon! Hold on to what you have, so that no one will take your crown.(NIV) REFLECT Wilma Glodean Rudolphs life is a story of achievement against the odds. At the 1960 Rome Olympics, she earned three gold medals in track and field events (one with a sprained ankle). She was the first American woman to become a three-time gold medalist. You could not have predicted Wilmas success from her early life. Wilma was born the 20th child in a family of 22 and only weighed 4.5 pounds at birth. Because she was born with polio, Wilma could not walk normally until she reached twelve years of age. As a poor, black woman born with polio, she overcame seemingly insurmountable physical, cultural and societal odds to reach her goal. I ran and ran and ran every day, and I acquired this sense of determination, this sense of spirit that I would never, never give up--no matter what else happened. Like Wilma Rudolph, we should run and run every daybut in Jesus name. Our Father in Heaven expects us to have enough faith and determination and trust to keep running, and to keep moving toward a higher goal. He expects us to embrace the present and to shape the future.

REACT CHILDREN God made you in His image! Do you ever look in the mirror and wish you were different? Dont! You are perfect. The next time you look in the mirror, understand you were made in the image of God, and He declares that you are fearfully and wonderfully made! (^_^) RL! YOUTH Write on your mirror at home the text of Psalms 139:14. Then send a tweet to one of your followers encouraging them. REACH I (We) can stretch my (our) faith to keep the flame burning today by.

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RESPOND Thank You, God, for not allowing us to focus on the seemingly insurmountable deficiencies in our lives, but for seeing beyond who we are to who we can become. We want to hold out! Help us to become more like Jesus; increase Your Spirit in us as a church and as individuals.

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Day Three

LIKE JESUS: HUMBLE

READ John 13:1-5, Philippians 2: 3-8 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. Matthew 11:29 (NIV) REFLECT Jesus came to us with love and humility. He did nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but did everything as a servant of the Father, with love, compassion, and obedience to God. He could drive out the most foul of demons, but He blessed little children. He could command legions of angels to do his bidding, yet He stooped to wash the disciples feet. He could have avoided death on the cross, yet He obeyed the Father and suffered incredible agony at Calvary. Jesus is a role model of humility and of godly leadership. He defines for us the meaning of servant. He was not concerned with self, but with the spiritual needs of His disciples. He neither gloated nor bragged about His authority. He empowered His disciples to spread the Gospel. We can be thankful that God serves us. No condition is too insignificant, and no one in need of help is too lowly for Gods attention. Jesus example is one that is difficult to follow in a world that demands and glorifies success, fame and power. But He calls us to follow Him, and to be yoked with Him as we represent Him in the world. When others seek to elevate us, we must seek to elevate Jesus as we serve others in His name. RESPOND Jesus, You humbled Yourself to serve, even though You could call forth legions of angels to do your bidding. Jesus, You humbled Yourself to walk with us on this earth, even though You created it. Jesus, You humbled Yourself to touch us, heal us, and love us, even though we dont deserve it. Help us to serve the needy, walk with the lonely, touch the afflicted, and love the unlovable. We are determined to be like You.

REACT CHILDREN Ask God to show you ways that you can be humble in your family. Clean your room without your mother or father having to ask you. Do something for a family member that you know he or she would enjoy.

(^_^) RL! YOUTH What sorts of things do you do well? When you receive a compliment today, say, Thanks, I give the glory to God. See what happens! REACH I am (We are) determined to be humble like Jesus. I (We) will elevate Jesus and serve others today by

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Day Four

LIKE JESUS: FORGIVING

READ I Corinthians 13 Love . . . keeps no record of wrongs. I Corinthians 13:4-5 (NIV) REFLECT From the Civil War until the turn of the last century, the Hatfields and the McCoys engaged in a bitter and destructive family feud. Tensions and fighting escalated over failed love affairs between the two clans, land disputes, and contentious court battles. For decades, the Hatfields and the McCoys refused to let go of the perceived slights and evils. It all came to a halt in 1891. It was then that the Hatfield patriarch became a baptized, born-again Christian. Its believed that his conversion touched families throughout the region. Jim McCoy, the last survivor of the original family, died in 1984. He was buried by the Hatfield Funeral Home. We may not kill each other physically, but we are not unlike the Hatfields and the McCoys. We remember what people have done to offend us; we hold grudges; we long to get back at others. This is not Jesus way. Paul told the Corinthian believers that true love does not record every slight or offense. He encouraged them to be a living example of Gods love in their pagan society. In our society, we must let go of offenses and forgive. If Jesus could forgive those who crucified Him, we, too, can extend Gods forgiveness to those who have hurt us.

REACT CHILDREN Is there someone in your class who is mean to you or who says unkind things to you? Start today to pray for that person and ask God to help you forgive him or her for being unkind. (^_^) RL! YOUTH Make a list of three things in your life that you know are not pleasing to God. Ask God to REACH I am (We are) determined to be more forgiving. I (We) will extend forgiveness today by:

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RESPOND We are determined to be like You, Jesus. Give us holy amnesia. Help us to forget who wronged us, forgive who has sinned against us, but to remember that You have loved us. Eternally.

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Day Five

LIKE JESUS: A FRIEND

READ John 15:12-17 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command. John 15:12-14(NIV)

REACT CHILDREN Draw a large number 1 on a piece of paper. Cut it out and write a note to God telling Him that you are thankful to be His friend and that you are giving Him first place in your life. Tape your note to your nightstand or mirror as a reminder of your promise.

REFLECT In todays scripture, Jesus calls the disciples His friends. Because we are Jesus disciples, it is a blessing to know that Jesus also considers us His friends. ImagineJesus not only loves us, but He likes us enough to invite us to be His friends. As His friends, He wants intimate relationships with us. Jesus friendship is one that demands sacrifice, obedience and love. Jesus is a Friend we can trust and lean on in both good and bad times. He never leaves us alone, but lifts us up when we are down, carries us through the rough places of life and pushes us to greatness. Its a miracle that Jesus friendship with us endures even when we arent very friendly to Him. Because we are in intimate relationship with Jesus, we cannot help but show this same quality of friendship to those in our human family. We are called to be trustworthy, steadfast, encouraging, and to push others to new heights. We are called to remain a good friend, even when others arent. Are you a good friend? Determine today to become like Jesus, a friend. RESPOND Dear Jesus, what would we do without Your friendship? Its amazing that You love us, but its incredible that You have invited us to be Your friends! Help us to become a Church of friends, because of Your friendship with us.

(^_^) RL! YOUTH Hi! The following person invited you to be their friend on Face book: Jesus Christ. What do you expect to read when you log on to Jesus page? Write him a message telling Him how you will be His friend.

REACH I am (We are) determined to be a friend like Jesus. I (We) will be a friend today by

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Day Six

LIKE JESUS: VICTORIOUS

READ John 16:31-33 I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33 (NIV)

REACT CHILDREN Write down today all the tests and school work you have coming up in the next week. Ask God to help you to be victorious in your studies and to show you how to be calm as you study.

REFLECT Just before His death, Jesus comforted the Disciples. He faced execution, torture, disgrace and shame, but He assured His disciples that He had already overcome. Jesus wanted His disciples to have peace, joy and courage in troubled times. Jesus example of victorious livingin the face of certain deathis our pattern. Although we may lose a battle, ultimately we will win the war. When we are knocked down, we will get back up. We may lose a friend, but we will never be friendless. We may lack food but, the Bread of Life will sustain us. Are things difficult now? Jesus knows all about it, and Jesus has overcome the world. Are you facing your personal Gethsemane? Focus on Jesus. You will have the victory then, and Jesus will give you His peace now.

(^_^) RL! YOUTH What kind of battles do your non-Christian friends face? IM, tweet, or text them today, encouraging them that Jesus has the victory. REACH I am (We are) determined to focus on the victory, like Jesus. Today, I (We) will focus on

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RESPOND In You we have victory, Jesus. Through You we know that we will overcome. Show us, this day, the victory that we have in You. Show us, this day, how to walk, live and enjoy the victory that You earned for us on Calvary.

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Part One:

to be like jesus

Determined

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Day Seven

LIKE JESUS: HOLDING OUT AGAINST TEMPTATION


READ Luke 4:1-13 The devil said to him, If you are the Son of God, tell this stone to become bread. Jesus answered, It is written: Man does not live on bread alone. Luke 4:3-4 (NIV)

REACT CHILDREN With an adults help, decorate a pair of sunglasses with the words, Keep your eyes on Jesus. Use glitter, glue, paint, or permanent marker to make them stand out. Deliver them to someone you know who is being tempted to go the wrong way. (^_^) RL! YOUTH How is satan tempting you now? Write the words it is written in your notebook or post it in your locker at school so that you can see these words when you are being tempted. REACH I am (We are) determined to overcome temptation like Jesus. When tempted, I (we) will

Stretch! Its Within Reach

REFLECT Satan uses the things we want most to tempt us. So after Jesus had fasted for forty days, satan attacked Him by pointing out His hunger. Satan tried to distract Jesus focus from His mission and destiny. Can you imagine how hungry Jesus must have been? Can you imagine how easy it would have been to speak a word to the stone and to satisfy His intense hunger? Jesus did, in fact, speak a Word. He spoke the Word of God to satan to defeat the temptation with which He was faced. In fact, as the text tells us, Jesus defeated all of satans succeeding temptations with Scripture. What do we do when we are faced with temptation? Do we give in to satans lies of expediency, or do we recall the promises that are in Gods Word? Resolve today to be like Jesus, able to stand up against temptation because of the power of the Word of God.

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RESPOND Jesus, I want to stand firm. Hide Your word in my heart so that I may not sin against You. I want to stand as You stood; I want to defeat satan, so that Your kingdom may come through me.

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Day Eight

LIKE JESUS: LIGHT OF THE WORLD


READ Matthew 5:14-16 You are the light of the world. Matthew 5:14(NIV) REFLECT Some years ago there was a very popular advertising campaign for a company that manufactures athletic shoes and equipment. If I could be like Mike Many of you know who Mike is, and you know the name of the company. You remember because of the advertising dollars spent, the popularity of Mike at that time and a catchy tune that we heard numerous times. The ad campaign caused people everywhere to want to wear the shoes, hats and t-shirts to be like Mike. Imagine what might happen in the world if Jesus received that same kind of attention. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gives us an idea of the traits we should display in our own daily living. We are called to be merciful, to hunger for righteousness, to be pure of heart and to be peacemakers, all traits Jesus Himself displayed. If we aspire to be like Jesus, we want these traits to show in our lives. We have to be the change we want to see in this world. If we want to see kindness, we have to exhibit kindness even when those around us may not be kind. In a very real way we are the ad campaign for Jesus. For some people the only Jesus they may ever see is us. We are His light to persons who are dark with despair, stress and distress. Show His light in all that you do and to everyone you meet. As you show Jesus light, others will have no choice but to praise God. RESPOND Dear Lord, I (we) want to shine, so as I (we) go through this day let those I (we) encounter see You in my (our) speech, my (our) manner and in my (our) deeds. I (we) want to represent You well, so that You may be glorified.

REACT CHILDREN Ask an adult you know to teach you the song- This Little Light of Mine. Once you learn it, remember that you must shine for Jesus!

(^_^) RL! YOUTH Read Romans 15:7 - Introduce yourself to someone you dont know. Show Gods light to that person. REACH I am (We are) determined to be like Jesus. I (We) will show his light in my life today by.

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Day Nine

LIKE JESUS: COMPASSIONATE

READ Mark 8:1-8 Jesus called His disciples to him and said, I have compassion on these people Mark 8:1b-2a (NIV)

REACT CHILDREN Each week, our church bulletin has the names of people who are not able to come to church. Ask an adult to give you a stamp and an envelope and send a card to one person on the list. (^_^) RL! YOUTH RYB. Jesus loves you. Tell that to someone who is broken, hurt or lonely.

Stretch! Its Within Reach

REFLECT Jesus never saw a need that He ignored. He comforted the mother grieving over a dead son. He healed the broken. He freed those who were bound by demonic forces. He gave words to the mute, sight to the blind, and mobility to the lame. Jesus heart for the suffering and needs of others moved Him to heal, touch, feed and forgive. Do we have His heart? Do we try to meet those needs that we see? Do we pray for those who are wounded by this world? Do we take action? If Jesus showed His compassion to the broken or the brokenhearted, then so must we. Resolve today to show the compassion of Jesus to someone who needs it.

REACH I am (We are) determined to be compassionate like Jesus. Today, I (we) will.

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RESPOND God, make New Psalmist a church of compassion. So many need Your heart and Your power. Build in us a desire to pour out Your compassion into a thirsty and dying world.

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Day Ten

LIKE JESUS: CONNECTED

READ John 15:1-8 I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me, and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing. John 15:5(NIV)

REACT CHILDREN Talk to your parents about your good fruit hugs and kisses, sharing, helping, doing your chores, playing with a sister or brother, and the other good things you do. The bad things we do are like dead leaves, rotten bananas or moldy orangeswith the help of the Lord Jesus well get rid of the bad things and grow the good fruit of the Holy Spirit. (^_^) RL! YOUTH RYB. Connect with someone who is disconnected. Tell them about your connection with REACH I am (We are) determined to be connected like Jesus. Today, I (we) will

Stretch! Its Within Reach

REFLECT God wants us to produce. If you really love Him, you will produce the fruits of love, joy, peace, forgiveness, gentleness, goodness, faith, humility, and self-control. If we trust in Jesus, then we will bear good fruit. Jesus was connected to the Father, and we must remain connected to Jesus. But in order to produce fruit, we must remain in Jesus. In the same way that a branch cut from a tree will die, we will have no life apart from our relationship with and connection to Jesus. We must develop a determination to keep our connection with Jesus strong: through prayer, through fellowship, through the Word, through worship. As we offer the fruit to a hungry world, it will be nourished through us to the glory of God. Are you connected?

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RESPOND Father, help New Psalmist to be like Jesus. Help us to be connected to Your Word, linked to Your Wisdom, and committed to worship. We want to be connected to You and to each other. We want to be like Jesus.

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DETERMINED TO BE HOLY
Days Eleven to Twenty For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 1 Thessalonians 4:7(NIV) Congratulations! You have completed one quarter of our 40 day journey. There are many challenges and blessings yet to come.

Determined

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DETERMINED!

Be determined.. To show Gods love to one another Even to those who are not your sisters or brothers. Be determined.. To be kind to the lowly To share a word or hug boldly. Be determined.. To complete every given task Without procrastination or an excuse to grasp. Be determined.. To serve gladly with a servants heart You have been chosen, you have been set apart. Be determined.. To do better, be better and willing to grow Intentional every day allowing Gods anointing to flow. Be determined.. To pray to the Father without ceasing and with regard Wanting to be like Jesus, a blessing to every child of God.

New Psalmist is Concerned About Becoming God wants us to be holy. Over these next ten days, begin to create rituals that promote holiness and wholeness. We have common misconceptions about what it means to be holy. We equate it with a certain style of dress or a negative holier than thou attitude. The word holy appears in the Bible over 600 times, so its an important scriptural concept and a key attribute of God. To be holy is to be consecrated, and therefore connected, to God. It also implies that we are separated from sin and no longer controlled by it. To be holy is to be whole.

Because we belong to a transformative community, we are becoming more holy, more whole and more like our Savior. This takes hard work. This takes determination. Satan wants us to be fragmented, broken and disconnectedunholy.

Holy Hookups During the next ten days, find ways to connect with others. You might want to schedule a weekly family activity night, and at the same time teach children various life lessons and skills. Pick a night that will be reserved for your family. Turn off the phone to set an example for the family that this is a priority and that you want it to succeed. Pray first and assign a song, a scripture, and a Biblical lesson each week. Keep the lessons short and age appropriate. Each family member should have a turn at assignments. You might even want to take photos and keep a history of each nights session. Consider inviting a college student, or one of the churchs single members to participate with your family. If you live alone, you can still get a hook up. Schedule during the next ten days how you will spend time with your friends or family members who live in the area. Structure your time together to discuss the Word, encourage each other, and to enjoy each others company. If you do not live near another church member, or you are away at college, you can still connect by phone. If youre determined to be holy, you can expect some demonic opposition. Dont worry, because, If you find yourself in the middle of great trials, its because there is going to be great growth. Bishop Walter S. Thomas, Sr.

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Day Eleven

HOLY: WHOLLY

READ Ephesians 1:1-4 How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! Hes the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ and takes us to the high places of blessing in Him. Long before he laid down the earths foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy in his love. Ephesians 1:3-4 (The Message)

REACT CHILDREN Are you holy? Ask God to show you those places in your life that need to be dedicated to Him. (^_^) RL! YOUTH RYB. JTLYK, Jesus LYSM.

Ask Him to help you become whole and holy.

Stretch! Its Within Reach

REFLECT We cannot get the holiness God wants for us unless we also receive wholeness. We must be healed and restored to act in righteousness. Paul tells us that both restoration and righteousness come through Gods love. God does not want anything less than wholeness for us. He loves us too much to let us stay where we are. Yet we often become comfortable with our broken, un-whole, natures: many of us are prone to gossiping, lying, jealousy and cruelty. We justify our sin by saying that weve always been this way instead of finding ways to become whole. As we accept our sinfulness, and receive Gods healing, we are able to show Gods whole and holy love to others. The path is not an easy one, though. We have to confess our sinfulness, accept our sinfulness, and take concrete steps to turn away from our broken behaviors. Only then can we become whole and holy.

REACH I am (We are) determined to become whole and holy. Today, I (we) will.

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RESPOND Dear God, Help New Psalmist to become a church that is completely, utterly and fully dedicated to You. Take all the broken pieces of our lives and make us whole, holy, and secure in Your love.

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Day Twelve

Stretch! Its Within Reach

HOLY: DISCIPLINED TO BE DIFFERENT


READ 1 Peter 2:4-12 But you are a . . . holy nation. 1 Peter 2:9a (NIV)

REACT CHILDREN

REFLECT As Gods chosen people, the Israelites were commanded to be holy. (Ex. 22:31a) To be holy means to be different; to be consecrated means to be separate. Thus, a Christian life style should be different and separate from the rest of the world. But how do we become holy? Author Jay Adams tells us that it isnt easy: You may have sought and tried to obtain instant godliness. There is no such thing. We want somebody to give us three easy steps to godliness, and well take them next Friday and be godly. The trouble is godliness doesnt come that way. We obtain holiness through a disciplined and determined pursuit of God. Adams tells us that we must correct, mold and train ourselves in the Word of God because it is by willing, prayerful and persistent obedience to the requirements of Scriptures that godly patterns are developed and become a part of us. Learn the Word. God will bring this Word to your heart and mind as you make decisions in keeping with His will and His character. It is only when we do this in a persistent way that we find the holiness that reflects His character. Be empowered through the Word of God. Read it day and night. Memorize it. (Psalms 119:11)

(^_^) RL! YOUTH CHILDRENS AND YOUTH ACTIVITY We have learned today as we read the Bible how to live in a holy way, but more than 200 million people in the world dont have a Bible in their languages. Imagine not being able to read the Bible in a language you could understand. You can do something about this! You can pray that God will send workers to those places to translate the New Testament into one

REACH I am (We are) determined to be disciplined. Today, I (we) will.

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RESPOND Lord, New Psalmist is a going to the Holy City of Zion. Before we can get there, we need Your help. We want to be set apart for Your purpose. We want to be consecrated to You. Give us the discipline to do what it takes to become a holy people ready for the Holy City of Zion.

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Day Thirteen

HOLY: DAILY

READ 1 Peter 1:15-16 Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to everincreasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness. Romans 6:19(NIV)

REACT CHILDREN Are you holy each day? Ask your family what they think during your prayer time and pray for each other. (^_^) RL! YOUTH What things do you do each day that please God? What is God asking you to do to become more like Him? Discuss these things with your family during your prayer time. Ask them to pray for you. REACH I am (We are) determined to be holy in my daily life. Today, I (we) will.

Stretch! Its Within Reach

REFLECT Many people get the wrong idea of what it means to be holy. The word holy seems to bring to mind images of angels wearing white robes with halos. Unfortunately, the concepts of godliness and holiness generate guilt, suspicion, and frustration. In some cases, holiness is considered undesirable, and some live as if it is not required at all. But God is consistent in His requirements. Throughout Scripture, God calls His people to be holy. As children of God, is holiness possible for us to achieve? Holiness is a call to be disconnected from sinful ways and to be Christ-like. God has destined us to be conformed to the image of Jesus Christ. Our transformation is always at work through Jesus, and the Holy Spirit nurtures us in our spiritual development. Make it your business to be holy, every day.

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RESPOND Dear Lord, New Psalmist wants to pursue holiness--every day. Help us to take hold of Christs strength--every day. Help us to overcome challenges--every day. Help us to defeat obstacles-every day. Help us to become holy--every day.

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Day Fourteen

HOLY: IN MY WALK

READ Psalm 24:1-9 Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart. . . . Psalms 24:3-4a(NIV)

REACT CHILDREN Draw an outline of your hand on a sheet of paper. On each finger, write a scripture that will help you climb and become closer to the Lord. Share it with your family this week.

REFLECT Someone plans to walk for a worthy cause. They ask you for money to sponsor them. They take the walk, but someone else gets the benefit. So, too, in our daily journey with God, we work so that others may get the benefit: by our intercession, by our prayers, by our holy example. The 24th Psalm was originally sung while walking. Its a processional hymn, sung as pilgrims walked toward the temple. Some biblical scholars think that it was first written when David returned the ark to Jerusalem. The psalm celebrates Gods holiness and invites others to enter into worship. But not everyone could take this walk; the invitation is limited to a select few. Only those with pure motives and guiltless actions can have access to God. Would you be able to take this walk? If not, ask God to examine today your motives and your actions. Ask Him to help you become one who walks to God so that others can get the benefits.

(^_^) RL! YOUTH If you are able, take a walk through your neighborhood, in a mall or through school. As you walk, ask God to draw those around you closer to Him. REACH I am (We are) determined to be Holy in my walk. Today, I (we) will.

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RESPOND God, thank You for Jesus power to cleanse and to lift me (us). I (We) need Your guidance to help others to believe that they too, can walk to and stand in holy places with You. Let it be that by my (our) holy walk, others will come to New Psalmist, meet the Lord, and ask, What must I do to be saved?

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Day Fifteen

HOLY: CHOSEN

READ Deuteronomy 7: 6 For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you out of all the peoples on the earth to be his people, his treasured possession. (NIV)

REACT CHILDREN Draw a picture of a treasure chest. Put your name on the bottom. Every time you see it, remember that you are Gods chosen and treasured possession and that you are precious to Him.

REFLECT What does it mean to be chosen by God out of all the people on the face of the earth? God shows exceptional kindness in His treatment toward us. We have done nothing to earn Gods kindness, favor or grace. We only qualify to receive Gods favor because He has chosen us. God has selected us as His treasured possession. We are forever worth more to God than anything we can ever imagine. We are sealed as His priceless inheritance. He made us in His image and called us to be extraordinary. We are gifts to God from God. God has hidden us in His heart where His treasures reside. Because we have been chosen, we become eager to do our best for God. But what pleases God? Its not hard; we must show our love for Him demonstrated in obedience, our joy in the Lord that honors him with thanksgiving, and our peace in the Lord that produces patience. Let our response be a desire to live in holiness and obedience to Him.

(^_^) RL! YOUTH On the top of a sheet of paper, write the words, Buried Treasure. Under this title, make a list of classmates and family members who do not know Jesus. Pray that they will someday learn how special they are to God and that they have been chosen by Him. REACH I am (We are) determined to be holy and live as one chosen by God. Today, I (we) will .

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RESPOND Lord, its incredible! You chose us! How else can we respond? What else can we say when we realize Your incredible mercy towards us? Yes! Give the New Psalmist Baptist Church a yes spirit for Your will and way. Help us to become a people pleasing to You.

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Day Sixteen

HOLY: KEEPING THE FAITH

READ Matthew 17: 14-20 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NASB)

RESPOND God, its sometimes so difficult to keep the faith. There are so many distractions. There are so many demands on our attention, but we only want to see You. Give the New Psalmist Baptist Church persistence to believe what we hope for in the Lord will come to pass. REACT CHILDREN

REFLECT What does holiness have to do with faith? Everything. Obedience is the path to holiness. We cannot become holy unless we have faith. Look at todays story. The disciples could not drive out the foul spirit. They did not have enough faith. They did not see themselves as able to withstand evil. Thats when Jesus urged his disciples to have faith as small as a mustard seed. A mustard seed is tiny, but grows into a large tree. Under the pressure of wind and rain, it does not collapse. As a spice, it has a pungent flavor, and when combined with other spices it dominates the flavor. Like the mustard seed, faith is alive. Without faith, we give up on Gods purpose for our lives and abort divine occasions set aside by God for us to experience. How can we become without faith? We need faith to grow into Gods understanding of who we are in Him. Faith is extraordinary and moves God to work on our behalf in an exceptional way. But if we doubt that God can move because we are ashamed, guilty or have unconfessed sin, we cannot be effective to destroy the works of the enemy of our souls. Holiness is not just about you, its about keeping the faith to advance the Kingdom of God.

(^_^) RL! YOUTH CHILDRENS AND YOUTH ACTIVITY Is there someone you know who has great faith? Talk with that person and ask how he/she managed to be faithful under pressure. Write the answers down and tell your family about what you learned. REACH I am (We are) determined be holy and to live in faith. Today, I (we) will.

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Day Seventeen

HOLY: OUR PROTECTION

READ Ephesians 6:10-18 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place. Ephesians 6:14(NIV)

REACT CHILDREN Draw a picture of a crab. Next to each of its claws, write a word of thanks to God for protecting you from danger and harm.

REFLECT Crabs have a hard shell that protects their internal organs, and two eyes that stick out from their shell allowing them to see other animals that may prey upon them. God, the Creator, protects everything and everyone from its natural enemies. Humans may not have a hard outer shell to protect them, but God has provided the tools that would shield His children during the enemys attacks. Paul advises us to put on the breastplate of righteousness; righteousness is our defense against the devil. We are no longer under the dominion of sin, but that does not mean that satan has stopped his attacks. When the adversary comes up against you, remember that the crab has a hard cover for protection, and you have the Word of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit living inside of you. Gods Spirit will lead you to the Word that will fit your situation and protect you. If He can do it for the crab, He can do it for you.

(^_^) RL! YOUTH What kind of armor do you need to protect you? Ask God to show you those places where you are weak. REACH I am (We are) determined to live a holy life, and to seek Gods protection. Today, I (we) will.

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RESPOND God, help our church to live according to Your Word; help us to be holy. We want to see Your Word as our protection, our shield and our sword. We know that You will not leave us, and we thank You for protecting us with Your precious Word.

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Day Eighteen

HOLY: GODS WORK, GODS WAY


READ Leviticus 11:44 For I am the Lord your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves and ye shall be holy. (KJV) Philippians 2:12-13 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. (KJV) REFLECT Holiness is associated with righteousness. Although we know that righteousness cannot be obtained by anything we do, we still judge ourselves and others by works. When we hear the word holy, our tendency is to become anxious and guilt-ridden. In fact, we often get stuck at working out our salvation with fear and trembling as stated in Philippians 2:12. We fail to go on to verse thirteen, which explains how verse twelve can be accomplished. Philippians 2:13 informs us that God alone is working in us both to do His will and to do of His good pleasure. Consequently, we can conclude that our part is to be conscious of Gods presence. Colossians 3:12-16 suggests we should: Live our new life of love in Christ with compassion, kindness, humility, quiet strength, and discipline. Be even-tempered, content with second place and quick to forgive an offense. Let the peace of Christ keep us in tune and in step with each other. Let the Word of Christ have the run of the house. Instruct and direct one another with Gods help. Let everything be done in the name of Jesus, thanking God every step of the way.

RESPOND Thank you, Father for Your plan to make us a holy people. We pray that You will give each member of New Psalmist the desire to follow Your plan, in Your way, for Your glory.

REACT CHILDREN and (^_^) RL! YOUTH Think about one thing that your parent, teacher or another adult asked you to dobut you did it your way. What happened? Tell your story during your family prayer time, and ask God to help you to do things His way.

REACH I (we) stretch to see God through prayer today by

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Be mindful that God is working through us by the power of the Holy Spirit who helps us to become holy.

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Day Nineteen

HOLY: IN AN UNHOLY WORLD


READ Romans 12:1-2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what Gods will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will. Romans 12:2(NIV)

REACT CHILDREN and (^_^) RL! YOUTH Whats on? Make a list of those TV shows you have seen this week and the video games you have played. Total the number of hours you spent. How many of those shows were about God? What should you or could you do about your TV watching to become more holy?

REFLECT We live in an unholy world that is hostile to God. We are daily bombarded with godless language, unchecked greed, and senseless violence. But God has called us to live here. We cannot remove ourselves from the world, but we can do all we can to resist its influence. Apostle Pauls message gives us instruction and guidance in this respect. He encourages us to look beyond lifes circumstances to see Gods sovereignty. In fact, the periods of uncertainty that cause us to lose our sense of direction can open a way for Gods marvelous light to shine on our path. Just as trees nourished with fresh water bear good fruit, Gods Word spurs growth in our faith, so that we can produce good spiritual fruiteven in a spiritually polluted environment. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23). As God removes those things not in alignment with His will and divine purpose for us, our fruit grows and ripens, enabling us to serve. When the source of our service is through the heart of love for Christ, the result of our work is excellent. Gods will is fulfilled, He is glorified, and we are blessed with fullness of joy!

REACH I am (We are) determined to be Holy in an unholy world. Today, I (we) will.

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RESPOND God, this world is not holy, so it does not want Your church to be holy. I (we) understand that believers are strangers here. I (We) do not want to be changed by this world, but I (we) want to transform the world, so that Your love shines through and the Kingdoms work is accomplished through me (us).

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Day Twenty

HOLY: A HOLY PEOPLE FOR THE HOLY CITY OF ZION


READ Leviticus 11:45 I am the LORD who brought you up out of Egypt to be your God; therefore be holy, because I am holy. (NIV)

REACT CHILDREN Do you sometimes think bad things? As soon as bad thoughts about other people come into your head, ask God to fill your mind with thoughts of Him. (^_^) RL! YOUTH If you have an iPod or MP3 player, look at your playlist and find out how many songs use profanity. Resolve today to restrict your downloads to that music that feeds your soul. REACH I am (We are) determined to be holy in my (our) heart(s). Today, I (we) will.

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REFLECT If God could place your thoughts on a movie screen, what would the rating be? Our thoughts are important to God and are all known by God. God does not just want our conduct to be holy, but holiness should also be a part of our inner disposition and character. It is very possible that our thought lives can be disobedient while we appear to be holy on the outside. We too often ignore the bitterness, envy and disobedience that resides in our hearts. An old saying puts it this way: Sow a thought, reap an act; sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character. If we want to have a holy character, we must begin in our hearts, in our minds, and in our thoughts. Thats why the apostle told us to concentrate on what is right, noble, lovely or excellent. (Philippians 1:8) This should be the standard we apply to the television shows we watch, to the movies we attend or to the music we listen to. As we prepare to move to the Holy City of Zion, we must be holy inside and out. Whats playing today in your heart? Make sure that its a movie the whole family can watch.

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RESPOND God, New Psalmist is becoming a holy people, in every way dedicated to You. Make me (us) holy in my (our) heart(s). Please change what needs to be changed. Please renew us, restore us, and revive us and make us ready for the Holy City of Zion.

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Days Twenty-One to Thirty Thank God! Youve made it through one half of your journey. Take some time this week to reflect on what God has shown you so far and the prayers He has already answered. For the next ten days, we will be looking for ways to express our appreciation to God and to others in our circle.

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Everyone is valuable and adds value to what we do as a church. Each family member should have a sense of value, of significance and importance in the Kingdom of Godregardless of age or ability. In fact, the Barna Research group tells us that eighty to ninety percent of current church leaders were in some form of consistent childrens ministry before they were 13 years old. During the next ten days, look for ways to show your thanks by giving back to the Kingdom. There are many volunteer opportunities in New Psalmist Baptist Church. Some of those include: Christmas Outreach Project 100 (Feed the Children) Homeless Outreach

There is always Good News when you hang out with God. Bishop Walter S. Thomas, Sr.

You could also consider how to serve the broader community. Some ways to serve God by serving others include: Adopt-A-Grandparent Helping in a homeless shelter Exercising for a cause Assembling military care packages Taking a Thanksgiving meal to a shut in Inviting a college student to a holiday gathering

Any positive action can become a major move in the lives of others. Consider ways to be of assistance to others while adding value to your life and be determined to be thankful to God for your blessings.

As you show your gratitude for Gods goodness, and saturate yourself with His presence and power, you will have no choice but to become a witness to His goodness, because There is always good news when you hang out with God. Bishop Walter S. Thomas, Sr.

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Day Twenty-One

THANKFUL: FOR MY BLESSINGS


READ Psalm 7:17, 118:28- 29 Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.1 Thessalonians 5:18(NIV)

REACT CHILDREN Form a circle or line with three or more players. One of the players is Jesus. The others must do what Jesus tells them to do when asked with a phrase beginning with Jesus says, please. If Jesus says, Jesus says, please jump, the players must jump (players that do not jump are out). However, if Jesus says simply jump, without first saying Jesus says please, players do not jump; those that do jump are out. It is the ability to react to good manners, rather than physical ability, that matters here. (^_^) RL! YOUTH When was the last time you said thank you to God? List all of the things you thank God for; see if you can get them in one tweet. REACH I am (We are) determined to be thankful for my (our) blessings. Today, I (we) will.

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REFLECT As Christians, are we vigilant in letting God know that we are delighted with His favor and kindness? Maybe we dont send God thank you notes, but do we sincerely thank Him for how He showers, rains, and even pours blessings on us? Do you tell God, Thank You? Young children are taught manners using what used to be called the magic words: please and thank you. Unfortunately, sometimes after establishing a relationship with God, we may only remember one word. In our desperate need or want, we may beg God, almost sounding like the late James Brown Please, please, please. When He sees fit to answer your prayer, dont just assume that He knows your heart and go on as if nothing happened. Take time to express a genuine, Thank You. Even with God, you should stop being rude. Use your manners and let Him know that you recognize the value of all He has done.

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RESPOND Dear God, We earnestly appreciate the tangible things in our lives and how You satisfy us beyond our imagination. Even when we forget to utter a simple Thank you, please help us become Determined to Be Thankful.

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Day Twenty-Two

THANKFUL: NOT ALONE

READ John 11: 1-4 This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair. John 11:2(NIV)

RESPOND Heavenly Father, Thank you for family and friends. Please keep family and friendship bonds strong and secure, especially in turbulent times. Please enable our love to continue to grow and sustain us. Please help me to be open to the love and support of my church family and friends and to be willing to be a loving supportive friend to them. In Jesus name, I pray, Amen. REACT CHILDREN Do you have any neighbors who live alone? Ask your parents if you can write them a note or visit themwith an adult presentduring the holiday season. Start to pray for them each day.

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REFLECT His obituary listed his accomplishments. He had retired from the police department in 1998. He had earned a degree in business and public administration from University of Maryland. He was drafted into the Army and sent to Okinawa to guard missile silos. He served his country for two years and his city for 26 years. But thats not all his obituary told us. He had no children, no relatives and no friends. When scheduled for minor surgery, he decided to take his own life rather than come home to an empty house. He was so alone that he worried that nobody would find his body after he died. So, on the day of his surgery, he called 911 and told an operator, Maam, Im planning to shoot myself. I dont want the body to stink up the neighbors house. He had a .40 caliber Glock and pulled the trigger while the operator was still on the line. He should not have been allowed to die as he lived-- without family and friends. Jesus cared about his friends - Mary, Martha and Lazarus -- enough to come to them when they needed him. Many of us have estranged family members that we need to get in touch with so that we can be available to one another. Family and friends are important; they are the glue that holds us together. Praise God for the family of faith that is New Psalmist. Some people have enough family and friends to stretch from here to China, and some have enough to fill a doll house. Be thankful to have family and friends, because everyone doesnt have that blessing.

(^_^) RL! YOUTH Send a card or note to someone on the churchs sick list. Tell them that someone in their church family is thinking of them and that they are not alone.

REACH I am (We are) thankful I am not alone. I am (We are) will show my (our) thankfulness for my (our) family and friends today by

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Day Twenty-Three

THANKFUL: HE IS TRUSTWORTHY
READ Psalm 33: 20-22 We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his holy name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you. (NIV)

REACT CHILDREN and (^_^) RL! YOUTH Write down things about your family that you are thankful for. Let them know this week how they have blessed you.

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REFLECT No one ever promised that life would be easy for any of us. But we need not be defeated by the difficulties we face. How do we handle life when it hurts? How do we remain thankful during the loss of a loved one, unemployment, a health problem or disappointment? Its not easy to remain thankful or to continue to trust God when our hearts are hurting, but it has great benefits. If we trust God, He will give us everything we need as we go through lifes trials and tribulations. Yet in all these things, we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. (Romans 8:37) We have to remember that God loves us unconditionally and that He can be trusted.

REACH I am (We are) thankful that I (we) can trust in God. When I am (we are) disappointed today, I (we) will..

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RESPOND Thank God for another days journey and thank God for being the center of your life. Ask God to increase the churchs capacity to be thankful, and to trust Him, regardless of our circumstances.

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Day Twenty-Four

THANKFUL: HE SEES THE BIG PICTURE


READ Romans 8:28-39 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28(NIV)

RESPOND Thank you, God for this journey called life. Please make real to us Your presence, even as we accept that You have chosen us and will use us. Please help us to see Your hand in everything as You prepare us to move to the Holy City of Zion. In Jesus name, we pray. Amen.

REFLECT She had questions. She wanted answers:

REACT CHILDREN Look around today at the beauty of Gods creation and all that He has made, including you! Thank God for the beauty of His creation. Ask Him to show you how you are beautiful to Him. (^_^) RL! YOUTH Find a picture of the earth taken from space. Put it in your Bible. Thank God that He sees the big pictureand that you are a part of it. REACH I am (We are) thankful that God sees the big picture. I (We) thank God today for.

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I wondered why God placed me in certain situations. At one point, I asked several questions: Why did I have to go through two divorces? Why was I the only one in my family without children? Why did I seem to be wandering through life aimlessly? Instead of looking down, she looked up:

God revealed to me through sermons, scriptures, and prayer that I had to go through some things in order to fulfill His will. Otherwise, how else would I be able to witness to those going through the same ordeal? Although none of it was or is easy, I know that my heavenly Father is with me and that He will get the glory. She saw God, and not her circumstances:

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We never know what life has in store for us from one day to the next. As Christians, we know that God will be with us through it all. Instead of complaining about where we are we need to thank God for being with us, developing us, and even choosing us to go through those experiences. When you think about it, Hes really preparing us for our next assignment. Look at your life from Gods perspective. He will make your life reflect His glory.

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Day Twenty-Five

THANKFUL: FOR ANSWERED PRAYER


READ Psalms 34:17-22 The righteous cry and the Lord heareth, and delivereth them out of all their troubles. Psalms 34:17(NIV) REFLECT It could be a bill, an appliance, a chore, or a commitment. What trouble is coming your way today? Instead of allowing stress to overwhelm you, see it as an opportunity to sit down, calm down, slow down, and seek God. Heres how to overcome stress before it overcomes you: First, remind yourself that this situation is not unique and your needs are not unknown to God. Your ability to apply your faith always needs a little reinforcement. Let your mind, heart, and spirit settle in Him. Next, remember how He has helped you in the past. Make a list of all the times your prayers have been answered. Recall those situations and how God delivered you each time. Give God thanks for His ability to answer your prayers in the past, and thank Him in advance for what He will do in your situation. Thank Him as well that He is God. Finally, rest in His arms. He has answered you before and He wont let you down now!

REACT CHILDREN and (^_^) RL! YOUTH At your next family discussion, have each person describe a problem he/she faced recently and how--with Gods help--it was resolved.

REACH I am (We are) thankful for Gods ability to answer my (our) prayers in the past, and know that He will do so in the future. I (we) will remember His mercy on my (our) behalf by:

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RESPOND Lord, God Almighty, thank you for always being there for us when we need You. We pray and ask you to remind us that when we need help in any situation, You are always a prayer away. Lord, help us to remember to ask for Your support before we attempt to solve problems on our own. We ask these things in Jesus name. Amen

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Day Twenty-Six

THANKFUL: IN EVERY CIRCUMSTANCE


READ Philippians 4:11-13 I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation Philippians 4:11b(NIV)

RESPOND Lord, help me to be content with the blessings that You have given me. Thank You for all things: for being loving, faithful and my provider. Help me to know and understand the difference between needs and wants. You are the source of contentment and all that I need is found in You.

REFLECT There is no reason to complain. Your family is doing well, your finances are stable, your job is productive, and you have friends on whom you can count. Now, lets consider the reverse. What do you do when family and finances are shaky, everyone at work seems crazy, and your best friend has betrayed you? Paul says be content in whatever situation you find yourself. How? First, give thanks in all things (1 Thessalonians 5:18), then, realize that your strength is found only in Christ. (Philippians 4:13) Opening your heart to thanksgiving will bring peace and contentment that can only come from God. Our contentment should not fluctuate with our circumstances, but it should be influenced by the truth that God has promised to supply our every need (Philippians 4:19) and that He will never leave us nor forsake us. (Joshua 1:5) Christ is the source of our contentment. Therefore, if we focus on His strength and His promises, it will allow us to see clearly that, even in our trials He is working on our behalf. Paul also says that the secret to being content is realizing that in our humanity, we have limits. We can do everything through Christ. Our strength is found in our Redeemer who gives us full access to all that the Father has for us. Be determined to give thanks to God in everything and you will enjoy a life of godly contentment.

REACT CHILDREN Have an adult help you to make a calendar that shows all of your commitments for the week. Pray that God will give you the strength and good attitude to complete those activities in a way that pleases Him. After you complete them each day, Thank God for helping you! Place a sticker over that day and get ready for the next one. (^_^) RL! YOUTH On a piece of paper, write the words My Nerves! Throughout the day, list those things that have annoyed you. Ask God for His help in showing thankfulness, even when things get on your nerves! REACH I am, (We are) determined to be content in every situation. I (We) thank God today for ___________________________________________________________________________________

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Day Twenty-Seven

THANKFUL: FOR JESUS EXAMPLE


READ John 13:1-5 So he got up from the meal, took off his outer clothing, and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples feet, drying them with the towel that was wrapped around him. John 13:4-5 (NIV) REFLECT The disciples were deeply involved in a power struggle. They had argued over who would be the greatest in the Kingdom. Jesus knew His days on earth would end soon. This was His last time with His disciples, so He taught them a lesson about service. But this lesson didnt involve a Biblical text. Instead, Jesus picked up a towel and washed their feet. He laid down His position as master and teacher to perform a task no one else would be thrilled about doing. Jesus lesson is crucial because pride would hinder the disciples relationship with God, with each other, and with the people they were trying to liberate with the Gospel. The Bible is plain and clear. God wants us to follow Jesus example of humility and sacrifice. Jesus doesnt expect us to do anything He hasnt done. Thank God. Jesus is leading the way. Thank God. We dont have to look anywhere other than the Bible to find an example of leadership through service. Thank God. All we need is a towel.

REACT CHILDREN and (^_^) RL! YOUTH In todays scripture, Jesus showed His humility. A humble person is one who does not mind putting others ahead of himself. He does not look to be rewarded for the things he does. Think of one thing you can do for each member of your family that would make him

REACH I am (We are) thankful for Jesus example. Today, I (we) will

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RESPOND Heavenly Father, please make New Psalmist a place where all of our towels are wet, and all of our feet are clean.

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Day Twenty-Eight

THANKFUL: BEYOND BECAUSE


READ 1 Timothy 6:6-8 The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away, may the name of the Lord be praised. Job 1:21(NIV) REFLECT How often have we heard phrases like this? Im thankful because of my job or Im thankful because of my home or Im thankful because of my new car. Theres nothing wrong with giving God thanks for His many blessings. Who among us can claim to be thankful, no matter what the situation? Can we say were thankful if were having financial difficulty, experiencing health problems, or watching a loved one slip away? Can we claim that we are thankful, even when the statement before the because is not a positive one? The Apostle Paul knew how to be content and thankful in both positive and negative circumstances. He was beaten, imprisoned, stoned and shipwrecked. But he still praised God. Like Paul, we remember that God has promised to supply all of our needs. We also need to find ways to express our thanks to God: Be thankful that youre alive and moving. Be thankful that youre in your right mind. Be thankful that youre able to think about Gods goodness. Be thankful youre alive! Focus on what you can do for the Lord, not on what you dont have. Thank God for Jesus! Thank God for His love! Get rid of because. Thank Godperiod!

REACT CHILDREN and (^_^) RL! YOUTH During your family time, list ways you can demonstrate thankfulness and gratitude this week. Choose to do at least three things from the list. Demonstrate thankfulness to God

REACH I am (We are) determined to be thankful. Today, I (we) will

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RESPOND Thank You, God, for teaching us to have a grateful heart. Please help us to grow in thankfulness, so that our contentment does not depend on our circumstances.

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Day Twenty-Nine

THANKFUL: HE HEARS US

READ I Thessalonians 5:16-18 Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances for this is Gods will for you in Christ Jesus.(NIV) REFLECT Through prayer and supplication God always hears the cries of His children. Jesus taught the disciples to pray daily and to expect results. We can experience those same results by communicating with God. He is still the same every day and we are to be grateful that He never sleeps nor slumbers. God wants us to be aware of His presence at work in all circumstances of our lives. Therefore, before we complain about our circumstances lets thank God for being in them. In every circumstance, God has a purpose that will increase our knowledge and awareness about His powerful love for us. Let your light shine daily for God, give thanks to Him throughout the day.

REACT CHILDREN Hold a piece of construction paper so that the shorter sides are at the top and bottom as you write on it. In large letters, write the word GRATEFUL down the side of the sheet. Begin with the letter G, and write something for which you are grateful. For example, you may write, G is for my grandparent. Continue for each letter in the word. When you have finished, tape it where others in your family can see it. (^_^) RL! YOUTH Review the prayer requests youve had for the past month. What has God done? Give Him REACH God hears me (us). I am (We are) determined to be thankful for this truth by

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RESPOND Lord, we are so very thankful that You hear us. Even when we dont do the right thing, You dont turn away from us. We give you our love, our thanks and our praise. In Jesus name. Amen

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Day Thirty

THANKFUL: HE LISTENS

A spirit came over me as I ended my prayer Knowing that Jesus was standing there.

READ Philippians 4:6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. (NIV) REFLECT Be thankful for an opportunity to be a blessing to someone else today. Consider this Today I went to the garden to pray I had to meet Jesus There was so much to say.

I stopped and gave thanks for the opportunity I had In the Beautiful Garden of Prayer Thanking God, Thanking Jesus For taking me there.

RESPOND Thank You, God, for keeping watch over us, for answering our prayers, and for leading New Psalmist to becoming a House of Prayer that is pleasing to You.

I went to the altar and fell on my knees Tears streaming down my face Knowing that my God was pleased I had come into this place.

REACT CHILDREN and (^_^) RL! YOUTH We know that God answers prayer. God might say, Yes, or No, or Not now. Take a shoebox and decorate the outside. Put a slit in the top of the box. Encourage family members to place their prayer requests in the box. Keep praying and asking God to answer the prayers. After church each Sunday, check the box to see how God is responding. REACH God listens to me (us). I am (We are) determined to be thankful for Gods listening ear, by

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I prayed for healing for family and friends My God knows what they need I just kept praying and planting the seeds.

A spirit came over me while on bended knees Asking God to intercede. Theres sickness in bodies with so much pain I had to keep praying until healing was gained. The garden was quiet one other was there I began to ask God to help her instead.

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Days Thirty- One to Forty Shout aloud and sing for joy people of Zion Isaiah 12:6 (NIV) Celebrate! You are almost there! You have completed thirty days of our forty day experience. We are excited about what God is doing and what God is going to do in the Holy City of Zion. Celebration generates an expectant curiosity that creates newness, freshness, and excitement.

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As we go about lifes journeys, finding time to celebrate is inevitable. To be able to praise the Lord with music, song, and dance is an expression Of art that should inspire us to celebrate the coming of the Lord, the presence Of the Lord, and the Spirit of the Lord. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry, for the miracles of the Lord are among us. This will sustain us until the end of time. We must reach deep within our spirit and pull out the love, laughter, and lyrics that Inspire us to be the creative individuals that we are. Celebrating is a form of praise and I know God takes pleasure when His children celebrate Him. We must dance a Holy dance. Sing a gospel song. Smile daily because this is the day that the Lord has made, Let us rejoice and be glad in it. Dont take life for granted just because the sun shines every morning, the moon shines Every night, the stars glisten in the sky, and the seasons change like clockwork. The leaves on the trees during autumn reflect colors that most are able to see and enjoy. Celebrate the calming of the ocean waters as the waves ripple to the shore. Reflect on the miracle of Jesus walking on water. Celebrate the peace within us. With chaos around us, we need peace within us.

Dont WaitCelebrate Life is short, and time does fly, are clichs because they are true. We must be determined to spend quality time with family and friends. During this holiday season, cultivate and raise the level of your commitment to your family and your church. Dont let the hectic holiday season distract you from the rich opportunity you have to connect with others. Take out your calendar for the beginning of next year and plan party times with family, friends and church members. The list below suggests some ideas of how to initiate some specific activities to bring family and friends closer. Frequent celebrations bring excitement to relationships as we maintain a wholesome spiritual life of praise and worship.

Praise, Worship and Celebrate. Bring the family to church. Stay for more than one service, in order to get the full flavor of worship at New Psalmist Baptist Church. Afterwards take the family to dine at a special restaurant. Couples Night. Invite a special couple who has influenced your spiritual life out to dinner. Dont forget the camera.

Celebrate with New Psalmist. Invite another New Psalmist family for a meal. Each family could prepare a favorite dish. Take loads of pictures to remember the celebration! Create a journal and /or scrapbook. Start a scrapbook or journal or write a short story of your celebrations and events. Make sure that you take many pictures of each event. Rejoice in your relationships. Rejoice in Your Life. Dont Wait. Celebrate Now. Celebrate Often! Remember that we must choose to make our moments celebration-worthy, even when we are in the midst of trials. Celebrate now, because: God is the great God of reversal. He takes what is overwhelming to you, and uses it to give you victory. Bishop Walter Scott Thomas, Sr.

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Day Thirty-One

CELEBRATE: CHRIST WHO IS EXALTED


READ Revelation 4:11 You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for You created all things, and by Your will they were created and have their being. (NIV)

REACT CHILDREN and (^_^) RL! YOUTH Have your own LC2 party. Make your own invitations to give to friends, or send a text or e-vite to your friends asking them to come to an LC2. Use the opportunity to invite them to

REFLECT Heaven loves a party. Angels rejoice when sinners repent. The four and twenty elders praise God for His holiness. The Bible tells of many occasions where someone probably said, Hey, this calls for a celebration! The Word tells us that Christ is to be celebrated in heaven because of His sacrifice, because of His victory over hell, death and the grave and because we now have access to all of the riches of glory. As we go through our busy, often hectic and stressed lives do we take time to join the heavenly chorus and really celebrate our Lord and God? Why not have an LC2 party? Lets Celebrate Christ! Everyone would talk about the same thing-Just how good Christ has been. After all, we are celebrating Christ! Those who had been feeling depressed would leave with a renewed feeling of victory. The down-trodden would have flashbacks of how the Lord brought them out the last time defeat tried to take over. Now that is a celebration to remember! If you cant host an LC2 at your home, invite someone to churchtheres a party going on!

REACH Christ is exalted above all! I am (We are) determined to celebrate Christ today by

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RESPOND Heavenly Father, we Praise You. Thank You for Your Son, Jesus to whom we give unending praise and honor. Through Him, we can do all things. Praise His holy Name!

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Day Thirty-Two

CELEBRATE: CHRIST WHO DOES THE MIRACULOUS


READ John 2:1-11 This, the first of his miraculous signs, Jesus performed at Cana in Galilee. He thus revealed his glory, and his disciples put their faith in him. John 2:11 (NIV) REFLECT When we think miraculous we expect to be amazed, awed or even to fall down on our feet in praise. We dont necessarily expect to smile. But thats exactly what Jesus first recorded miracle did: it made people smile. Remember, Jesus was at a party; people expected to enjoy themselves. Jesus did not disappoint them. In turning water into wine, Jesus saved the wedding host from embarrassment, made His mother proud, and caused the disciples to believe in Him. Mostly, though, He made people smile. He restored their joy. When looking for the miraculous, you might not always find a Lazarus-being-raised-fromthe-dead event. Maybe Jesus will perform a miracle in your life that makes you smile; a miracle that makes you celebrate; a miracle that keeps a party going. Just think: Jesus first miracle was at a party, and He invites us to the greatest celebration of eternity in His presence. You might want to get that party started today! Celebrate His miracles. Celebrate the smile He puts on your face.

REACT CHILDREN Take some time today and listen to a gospel or Christian radio station, pick a song which talks about the miracles of God and write down some of the words that are sung about God. Read the words to yourself before you go to be sleep tonight to remind you about how God can do the impossible. (^_^) RL! YOUTH Write I believe on a piece of paper and put it in your Bible.

REACH I am (We are) determined to celebrate the miraculous by

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RESPOND God Almighty, we sing a song of praise to You: For you are great! You do miracles so great! There is no one else like you. There is no one else like you! We Praise You always.

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Day Thirty-Three

CELEBRATE: CHRIST WHO NEVER LEAVES US


READ John 14:15-18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. John 14:18(NIV)

REACT CHILDREN Read a Psalm or have your parents read a Psalm to you that is the same number as the day of the month (11th day read Psalm 11). What did you learn about God? Celebrate by sharing what you learned with a family member or friend today. (^_^) RL! YOUTH Adopted. What does it mean to be adopted by God? Discuss that fact with your family.

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REFLECT The September 11th tragedy left more orphaned children than any other event in modern history. Hurricanes Katrina and Rita displaced children from homes, families and schools. The mental and emotional ills faced by children who experience tragedy have long standing effects. Children who do not feel safe live in fear, doubt their abilities, and experience delays in thinking, socializing, and speaking. Like orphaned or traumatized children, we, too, know fear, hurt, anger, doubt, sadness and shame. In todays text, Jesus prepares fearful followers for His departure from earth. He comforts them. He reassures them. Today, Jesus assures us through the Holy Spirit, the Scriptures, and other believers, that our security rests in Him. He says: We are adopted members of His family (Romans 8:15), We have access to the Father (Ephesians 2:18), We have resources in times of trouble (Psalm 50:15), We have the Spirit of Truth with us forever (John 14:16-17). We are not orphaned. We are not alone. Christ will never leave us. Thats reason to celebrate.

REACH Christ will never leave! I (We) will make this reality a reason to celebrate by

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RESPOND Dear Lord please help us celebrate the fact that You live in us in the Person of the Holy Spirit. Thank You, God, for being with us at all times. Please guide us to share Your light with others, who may feel lonely, orphaned or abandoned during this holiday season.

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Day Thirty-Four

CELEBRATE: OUR LIVING CHRIST


READ Ephesians 2:4-10 But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions. Ephesians 2:4-5 (NIV) REFLECT The story starts in 1619, when the African slave trade started in the North American colonies. The story continues in 1865, when slavery ended in the United States. The story had several more chapters, which included Jim Crow, segregation, sit-ins, lynching, assassinations and tears. But the story of this oppressed people did not end in despair. One hundred forty-three years after the Emancipation Proclamation, Barak Obama, an African-American, was elected as President of the United States of America. There was a great celebration in this country as well as all over the world. It seems that this country has finally turned a corner. We as African-Americans have come a long, long way from slavery to a place in society few of us ever thought we would see in our lifetime. Our ancestors who lived and struggled in past centuries would be amazed at the turn of events on November 4, 2008. God has been with us throughout the ordeal of the past 390 years. Many of us alive today could see Gods hand in this election and the way it unfolded before us. Likewise, Gods gift of grace and mercy even when we were dead in our transgressions causes us to celebrate. We know that we have a long way to go, but we also know that God is with us and lives within us. Thats reason to celebrate.

RESPOND Heavenly Father, please keep the President and his family safe and healthy for the next four years and beyond. Please help them to be good examples of what You want for this country and the world. Bless the New Psalmist Baptist Church family to remain alive in Christ, as You have been merciful to us all. REACT CHILDREN Talk to your parents about the freedom of worship that we have in the United States. Write a letter to the President, thanking him for protecting our freedom. Then pray for him to lead our country in a Godly manner.

(^_^) RL! YOUTH Who are your leaders? Make a list of your elected representatives on the federal, state, and local levels. Share the list with your family and pray together for their wisdom to lead.

REACH I am (We are) determined to celebrate our living Christ by

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Day Thirty-Five

CELEBRATE: OUR HEALING CHRIST


READ James 5:15-16 The prayer offered in faith will make the sick person well; the Lord will raise him up. James 5:15(NIV)

RESPOND Abba Father, Lord God Almighty, we love You and adore You and thank You for Your loving kindness and tender mercies. You are our shelter in a storm, our rock in a crisis, our comforter when we are worried, our burden bearer when we are stressed, and our support when we are challenged. You are our cheerleader and Best Friend Forever! You open doors and love us unconditionally. Thank you for opportunities to serve You, love You, and honor You. REACT CHILDREN and (^_^) RL! YOUTH Get the sick list from the church bulletin. Begin to pray for each of the people listed. Ask God to heal them and help them return to church soon. REACH I am (We are) determined to celebrate Gods healing power by

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REFLECT Gods loving-kindness and tender mercies inspire me to be holy, give Him reverence and put my trust in Him. I share one of His bountiful blessings: More than ten years ago, my mother had to have emergency quadruple bypass surgery. The doctor advised my brother and me of the procedure and stated that she could die during this very serious operation. As we worried, I fingered through my bag for a tissue and felt a small bag of mustard seeds that I had received at a church workshop. I took out a mustard seed and thought,Where is my faith? I prayed and asked God for help. He answered instantly! He filled me with the peace that surpasses understanding. The operation was scheduled for the next morning. I was still calm. I encouraged family, studied sheet music for an upcoming concert, prayed and even snoozed a few moments. To God be the glory, the hours-long operation was a success. God is a healer, and He has shown me first hand what He can do. Praise God! Today, in her 90s, my mother continue to amaze us with her wisdom, faith, and energy. I have seen His healing power, so I am determined to live by faith, be holy, and to celebrate Him for His loving kindness and tender mercies.

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Day Thirty-Six

CELEBRATE: OUR CARING CHRIST


READ Luke 17:11-19 As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, Jesus, Master, have pity on us! Luke 17:12-13(NIV)

REACT CHILDREN and (^_^) RL! YOUTH Think of ways you can be compassionate this week. Try to be kind to everyone you meet. See what happens!

REFLECT Leprosy was a contagious disease. No one with leprosy was allowed to enter a city. Persons with leprosy were forced to leave family, possessions and professions. But Jesus heard the lepers in todays text as they cried out. Jesus healed them with a word. Jesus also hears us as we cry out. Our lives are full of challenges. Problems and disappointments can cause pain, frustration, setbacks, and discomfort. Even though we stand at a distance from Him, God is continually working on our behalf. He delivers us from troubled emotions, mind battles, habits, hang-ups, sickness, addictions, and broken hearts. Like the one Samaritan, let us return to Christ and thank Him for hearing us and for responding to us with His compassion. Let us celebrate the fact that He healed us with His word.

REACH Jesus cares for me (us). I am (We are) determined to celebrate Christ for his compassion by

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RESPOND Lord God Almighty, please fill the New Psalmist Baptist Church with a spirit of celebration above, beyond and throughout every circumstance. Enable us to be quick to thank You for the great and marvelous things that You have done, are doing, and will be doing.

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Day Thirty-Seven

CELEBRATE: OUR AMAZING KING


READ Isaiah 9:2-7 And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace Isaiah 9:6(NIV)

REACT CHILDREN and (^_^) RL! YOUTH Our nation is not ruled by a king. What would be different if a king ruled here? How does the King of kings rule in your heart? Discuss your thoughts with your family.

REFLECT Meditate upon the following description of Christ, found in a sermon attributed to Pastor Meshack Lockridge: My King was a born King. The Bible says Hes a seven way King. Hes the King of the Jewsthats a racial King.

REACH God is my (our) King. I am (We are) determined to celebrate my (our) amazing King by

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Hes the King of Israelthats a national King. Hes a King of righteousness. Hes a King of the ages.

Hes the King of heaven. Hes the King of glory.

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Hes the King of kings and He is the Lord of lords. Now thats my King. Do you know him?

RESPOND Heavenly Father, Thank You for Your Son, Jesus, who was sacrificed for us. Please speak to our hearts that we may perceive His majesty and power.

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Day Thirty-Eight

CELEBRATE: OUR PROMISE-KEEPING KING


READ Luke 2:20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen which was just as they were told (NIV)

RESPOND Dear Heavenly Father we thank you for the many promises you have given to us in your Holy Word. In the name of Jesus, we claim the blessings of these promises for ourselves, our families and our church for we realize that your promises are true. From this moment on, may we walk in confidence knowing that we serve a great and mighty God, who is with us and who will never forsake us.

REFLECT When was the last time you said, Hallelujah? Was it last week, yesterday, or even a year ago? We should get excited when God blesses us and His promises come true. Thats just what Christmas is about. God keeps His promises. In our scripture passage today, we find the shepherds returning home after visiting the manger of Christ. The scripture tells us that the shepherds left rejoicing because their experience at the manger was just as they had been told. Yes, they left the manger rejoicing because the promise of the angels was true. Just like the shepherds, the people of God have received a promise. In fact, there are 1,260 promises in the Bible and here are just a few to reflect on: I am with you always, even to the end of the world.[Matthew 28:20] The Lord is the strength of my life.[Psalm 27:1] Ive prepared a place for you that where I am you can be there too. John 14:3 The Lord is a very present help in the time of trouble. [Psalm 46:1] He will never leave you or forsake you. [Deuteronomy 31:6] Oh, taste and see that the Lord is good and blessed is the man that puts his trust in Him. [Psalm 34:8] So, the next time you start doubting God; just think about His promises and your past victories in Him. Reflecting upon His promises can make you want to yell, Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Go ahead, say it again...Hallelujah!

REACT CHILDREN and (^_^) RL! YOUTH Search the Bible and find some of the promises of God. Use the keywords found to create a word search puzzle. (For example: strength, help, blessing, place, etc.) Visit puzzlemaker. discoveryeducation.com to create your word search.

REACH I am (We are) determined to celebrate Gods promises by

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Day Thirty-Nine

CELEBRATE: OUR EVER-PRESENT LORD


READ 2 Samuel 6:12-15 David danced before the Lord with all his might, while he and the entire house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouts and sound of trumpets. (NIV)

REACT CHILDREN Choose a favorite song or recording and perform a dance for the Lord that celebrates all He has done for you. Present your performance to your family one evening and have them join in with you. (^_^) RL! YOUTH List the ways that you know God is with you. Now send an email, IM or text of

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REFLECT With confidence in the presence of God, David is a witness to His deliverance. Though a proven man of courage, a slayer of lions, bears, and giants, David was the object of Sauls murderous attempts on his life. He was forced to live as a fugitive in the wilderness with his distressed, discontented supporters. David remained faithful and stayed on the path God had for him. We too, must stay on the path God has for us. As David celebrated the victorious kingship the Lord brought to him, He rejoiced upon the return of the covenant of God to the City of Zion. His God was with him every step of the way. If the Lord has been the Shepherd of your journey, delivering you out of perils and pits along the way, celebrate! He is with you!

REACH I am (We are) determined to celebrate my (our) ever-present Lord by

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RESPOND Dear God, please continue to inspire the New Psalmist family to praise and celebrate You for Your wonderful works in our lives, and guide our walk that our paths to the New City of Zion will be pleasing to You.

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Day Forty

CELEBRATE: THE JOURNEY

READ: I Chronicles 16:24 Declare His glory among the nations, His marvelous deeds among all peoples. (NIV) REFLECT Celebrate! God has brought you to the end of the journey! What have you learned? What has God done that you can celebrate in your family? Health? School? Work? Relationships? How did God bring joy to you or to your family in the past 40 days? Why dont you share what you have received from God? Tell a friend, or family member today I celebrate you because . . . Share the joy that God has given to you over these last 40 days! RESPOND Dearest Lord, we take time now to celebrate. During this forty day journey, You have shown us how to be like Jesus. We thank You for this example. You have shown us how to be holy. We thank You for loving us enough to change us. You have shown us how to be thankful. We praise You because You never stop giving to us. Now, Lord, at the end of this journey, we take time to celebrate You-Your Holiness, Your Son, and Your goodness to us. We celebrate because the Holy City of Zion is before us!

REACT CHILDREN and (^_^) RL! YOUTH Solve the word search puzzle below. Why not have a contest? See who finishes first! Enjoy each other during this season of Celebration.
Y L L U F R A E F G W A T Q M G L A D N E S S L O A L T G A B E G O D F H O N S A N N N R R E V G A I R D S X A I E O V E N G V G I E E E S H J C I E A K O H F R M V A T T O I T L T R E I F B G E Y S G Y O A O H S E L L L T S L I C L A T Y T J P I S F W O R S I H A P P Y

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R G W O R S I U Y P E L D E E T W V Z T E F S H P E N R G G A L P D E S H P P E S Q A N R L O O E E L S U X T T L S H N F J U R L R M Y A O U L D D R E O O G R C E V A U G O D D BREATH EXTOL GOD EVERLASTING FITTING

ALOUD DECLARE EVERYTHING FAVOR GLADNESS GOOD JOYFULLY MARVELOUS REJOICE STRENGTH WORSHIPPERS

ASSEMBLY DEEDS EXALT

REACH I am (We are) determined to celebrate Jesus. I (We) will celebrate what He has already done, what He is doing and what He has yet to do by. ___________________________________________________________________________________ ___________________________________________________________________________________

FEARFULLY GLORIFIES HAPPY KNEEL

HIGHEST LORD PRAY

PLEASANT

SALVATION

SHOUT

WONDERFULLY

WORSHIP

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Celebrate! The best is yet to come. 98

CONGRATULATIONS!

Just as Philippians 4:4 tells us to rejoice, you, too, have reason to celebrate! Your determination during these 40-days of prayer and fasting has not only demonstrated faithfulness, but also trust in God. Moreover, for that reason, God will honor you, just as you have honored Him (I Samuel 2:30). Genesis 18 demonstrates that God heard the cry of Abraham for His city and promised deliverance for the sake of ten righteous believers. He is just as faithful to His people today. Know that your pledge through prayer, intensified by your fasting, will yield Gods perfect will concerning you and your family and our move to the Holy City of Zion.

Enlarge the place of your tent, stretch your tent curtains wide, do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes.

For you will spread out to the right and to the left; your descendants will dispossess nations and settle in their desolate cities.

Isaiah 54:2-3 (NIV)

4501 Old Frederick Road Baltimore, MD 21229 410-945-3000 www.newpsalmist.org

New Psalmist Baptist Church