Twice a year, we make it a priority as a church to seek God first in prayer. We do this in January through 21 Days of Prayer. These three weeks are intentional, as they each begin a new season of emphasis for us. Prayer in January is our way of giving God our "first and our best." We believe that like the tithe, it has the power to positively influence the rest of the year. Prayer and fasting in January also sets the tone for souls coming to Christ in springtime during Easter.  

7 Days of Prayer in August is our way of regrouping, and getting ready for outreach and a harvest of souls in the coming fall. Ultimately, we believe that through prayer, His power can create lasting impact in our lives, our church and our world.

Join Us!

January 9-29, 2022

Live at MHC on Wednesday's @ 7-8pm
Live at MHC on Saturday Morning's @ 9-10am

On demand: Church of the Highlands

Devotional Messages

21 Days of Prayer is for you!

If you sense that God has more for your life, 21 Days of Prayer is a great place to start believing Him for all that He has for you. At the prayer services, you will put seeking God first into practice, and when you do this, He will start working on your behalf like never before. You will see a difference in your relationships, your work, your family and every area of your life. It is then that you will best be able to spread His love to others.

We would love for you to join us  as we gather to pray for the needs of our city, nation, families, and homes.

Fasting


The goal of fasting is to draw nearer to God. Biblical fasting always has to do with eliminating distractions for a spiritual purpose; it hits the reset button of our soul and renews us from the inside out. It also enables us to celebrate the goodness and mercy of God and prepares our hearts for all the good things God desires to bring into our lives. Remember, your personal fast should present a level of challenge, but it is very important to know your body, your options, and, most importantly, to seek God in prayer and follow what the Holy Spirit leads you to do. For those that may have health challenges, we recommend you make a prayerfully informed decision with your doctor before making a final choice on the type of fasting you'd like to enter into.

Scripture References
  • Matthew 6:16-18
  • Matthew 9:14-15
  • Luke 18:9-14
  • Acts 27:33-37
  • Nehemiah 9:1-3

types of fasts


Complete Fast
In this type of fast, you drink only liquids, typically water with light juices as an option.

Selective Fast
This type of fast involves removing certain elements from your diet. One example of a selective fast is the Daniel Fast, during which you remove meat, sweets, and bread from your diet and consume water and juice for fluids and fruits and vegetables for food.

Partial Fast
This fast is sometimes called the “Jewish Fast” and involves abstaining from eating any type of food in the morning and afternoon. This can either correlate to specific times of the day, such as 6:00 am to 3:00 pm, or from sunup to sundown.

Soul Fast
This fast is a great option if you do not have much experience fasting food, have health issues that prevent you from fasting food, or if you wish to refocus certain areas of your life that are out of balance. For example, you might choose to stop using social media or watching television for the duration of the fast and then carefully bring that element back into your life in healthy doses at the conclusion of the fast.

Daily Devotionals

Tuesday, January 18th – Day 10
One of the characteristics of the person who is growing in their love for God is a hatred for evil or sin.  

Paul in his conclusion about baptism in Rom. 6 tells us that Jesus died to sin once for all but the life that He lives, He lives to God. In the same manner, you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. There is a logic to this. If we want what God wants, and He hates evil, then so should we.  Proverbs 8:13 says “The fear of the Lord is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way and the perverse mouth I hate.” One of the reasons why reading the Word of God is so necessary is that we learn how God feels about many things.  He does not leave it up to us to figure out what is evil and what is good.  The Word of God makes it clear. David says in Psalm 119:11, “Your word I have hidden in my heart, that I might not sin against You.”  

So, when the word is no longer just in the book but gets into our heart then it has the power to help us say no to sin.  John tells us the difference between the culture of this world and the culture of the kingdom of God when he says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.  For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. 1 John 2:15-17.  One doesn’t have to look far to find evil or sin in this world, just turn on the TV. The TV is not the problem but maybe the choices we are making as to what to watch certainly could be.  John Paul Jackson makes this statement about choice: “We can’t have public victories without succeeding in the moment of choice, nor can we live righteously without succeeding in the moment of choice. Making spiritual choices in the moment of choice produces a righteous life.” We are not talking here about imputed righteousness which is given to us through faith in Christ. We are talking about the living out of that righteousness based on the decisions we make. Jesus tells us the Father’s heart on this area in John 14:21,23-24 “He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine but the Father’s who sent Me.”  

So, our love for God is the central issue here.  When we love God we grow in finding and keeping his commands, we walk in obedience to His Spirit.  By drawing close to Him through doing this, He draws closer to us and even makes His home with us.  That sounds delightful to me.  
“Father, help us to love you more. You gave your all for us through Jesus Christ and all that He did.  We want to make those choices everyday to live righteously and hate sin and we will give You all the glory in Jesus name, Amen!

Monday, January 17th  - Day 9
We all liked the showing of the Lego Movie at church this last fall especially the younger ones among us.  It’s interesting to me that from an early age, people like to build things. God is into building things as well. He’s building you and me into the image of Jesus Christ. Years ago, a man shared an understanding of God’s priorities when it comes to building the work of God into our lives personally and when we are helping others seeing it built into their lives as well.  

God’s first priority is to lay a good foundation. Paul talks about this foundation in 1 Corinthians 3:10-12 “According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,..” Jesus Christ is the foundation. There is no other foundation on which to build the work of God. Jesus, quoting David in Psalm 118 says, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: ‘The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?” Matthew 21:42 The chief cornerstone is the central stone in an arch or a building without which the entire building falls down. Jesus was telling the Pharisees that He was the chief cornerstone prophesied by David and that they were the builders who were rejecting Him to their own detriment. 

Upon this foundation of Jesus Christ the next area of priority is the Love and Grace of God. We need to understand this for ourselves and towards others. John, the apostle, asks us how we can even say we know God if we don’t have love for others (1 John 4:8) and Paul puts love right up there with faith and hope as the things that must remain. (1 Cor. 13:13) God loves us all the time and His grace which is His unmerited favor is always towards us. The grace of God is also His divine enablement which gives us the abilities to do the things He wants us to do. Six different times in his letters Paul asks God the Father to give the readers His love and grace.  

The third area of the building is God’s Purpose and Vision. We can all have sub-purposes and visions but they all need to be serving or in line with God’s. God’s Purpose is for you and me to glorify the name of Jesus Christ in everything we do. His Vision helps us do that. The Vision is threefold: Preach the gospel in the whole earth; Become conformed to the image of Jesus Christ; Walk in Unity with believers. How that is carried out will be different for each person but must be experienced under the authority of the five-fold ministry of Ephesians 4 and local church authority. 

The fourth building block is learning to walk in One Mind and One Accord with other believers. We all have different viewpoints and ideas but we do need to learn how to come into agreement in order to get things accomplished for the kingdom of God. Humility of mind is needed for this endeavor and unfortunately the history of the church is filled with groups of people of who couldn’t sacrifice minor ideas for the greater good. Thus, the work of God in the earth has suffered because of the lack of unity. However, Jesus’s prayer in John 17 is still valid and operational, “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” 

Lastly, our search for True Doctrine is the final building block. It is very important that we understand the truth of scripture and we will be learning things from the word of God our whole lives. Some teachings are very essential for the growth of our faith in Christ and other teachings are not so essential. They may help us understand the larger picture or build expectation in us for what heaven will be like or what may happen in the end times but may not be as useful to us in our present lives to fulfill the purpose and vision and may conflict in walking in unity with others. So, we always have to be careful how we build this area into our lives. “Father, help us with your wisdom as we work to build the work of God into our lives and others.” Amen

Sunday, January 16th – Day 8
When the Holy Spirit was poured out on those who were waiting in obedience to Jesus on the Day of Pentecost as we read in Acts 2 some amazing things happened. Most people center on the fulfillment of Jesus’ words that they would receive power to be witnesses when this would happen as well as the reality of speaking in tongues.  However, while that is all true there is a lot more going on here than that. The rushing wind and the tongues of fire over each person’s head in the room are indicators of the presence of God. Wind and fire are often used in the Old Testament as indicators of God’s presence. 

They are also seen in heaven’s courts by Ezekiel and Isaiah. So, it could be fair to say that all of God’s attention is being focused on this event on Pentecost.  I believe that is true because God is continuing the process of reclaiming the nations as His own. At Babel in Genesis 11, we see that the people were all of one language and unified in a purpose.  God didn’t like their purpose so he confused them by giving them different languages so they could not communicate with each other. Consequently, they scattered over the known world of that time. We read in Acts 2 that the crowd of people who were seeing what was happening were confused but this time their confusion was because they were understanding their own language spoken to them by people who weren’t from their country. Acts 2:6-11 says, And, when this sound occurred, the multitude came together, and were confused, because everyone heard them speak in his own language. 

Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, “Look, are not all these who speak Galileans? And how is it that we hear, each in our own language in which we were born? Parthians and Medes and Elamites, those dwelling in Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya adjoining Cyrene, visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabs—we hear them speaking in our own tongues the wonderful works of God.”. So, the Spirit of God, by communicating the gospel in their own language to all these people from different countries, is reversing the confusion of Babel and bringing understanding of the gospel to all these scattered nations.  We know that 3000 of them were saved that day and eventually many of them carried the gospel back to where they were from. The prophet Isaiah tells us,

“Indeed He says, ‘It is too small a thing that You should be My Servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved ones of Israel; I will also give You as a light to the Gentiles, that You should be My salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” Isa. 49:6. So, God is declaring in Acts 2 His intention that the gospel be taken to all the nations.  We see, later in Acts, that Paul also understood this to be His mission to carry the gospel to the Gentiles. “Father, we marvel at the plan which You have had from the very beginning.  Even though You had to scatter people in the beginning who were not aligned with You, You did not forget about these nations and have devised a plan through Jesus Christ to bring them all back into Your family, all those who call on Your name to be saved. We thank You Father for bringing us back under Your Lordship. Amen!

Saturday, January 15th – Day 7
I love the times when Yahweh, the Lord, appears to people in the Old Testament as a man.  In Genesis 18 Abraham sees three men from his tent door and runs over to greet them.  He then has his household prepare food and drink for them.  The three men eat and drink and then the Lord who was one of the men tells Abraham and Sarah that they are going to have a son. Sarah laughs thinking of the impossibility of this prediction coming true. The three men move on towards Sodom and Abraham follows.  

The Lord says to his two companions which we find out later are angels, “Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing, since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth shall be blessed in him? For I have known him, in order that he may command his children and his household after him, that they keep the way of the Lord, to do righteousness and justice, that the Lord may bring to Abraham what He has spoken to him.”. Then I believe the Lord includes Abraham in the conversation when He says, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” Then the two companions leave to go to Sodom and Abraham and the Lord begin to have a dialogue about whether Sodom could be saved or not. This is amazing as God counsels with Abraham about His decision and allows Abraham to influence His thinking.  However, it should not seem too strange as the Lord is used to interacting with a divine counsel concerning His plans and Abraham is the first of His new chosen nation after the rest of the nations had been put in the hands of lesser gods at the Tower of Babel. Some have said that Abraham is referred to as God’s friend and that is why He counsels with him but all of God’s family are friends of His but not all are in His counsel.  

I’m probably going too deep here for a devotional. With OT appearances of Yahweh as a man, it seems strange to me that the Jews as a nation had such a hard time accepting Jesus coming as a man though, admittedly he had never come as a baby born of a virgin before.  As Paul says, their eyes were truly blinded and could not see the truth.  “Father, we thank you for sending Jesus as a baby who became a man that would lay His life down for us and then call us His friends.  We do love You Lord and desire to be better friends to You as we live our lives in Your service”. Amen

Friday, January 14th – Day 6
“Don’t be pulled in different directions or worried about a thing. Be saturated in prayer throughout each day, offering your faith-filled requests before God with overflowing gratitude. Tell him every detail of your life, then God’s wonderful peace that transcends human understanding, will guard your heart and mind through Jesus Christ. Keep your thoughts continually fixed on all that is authentic, real, honorable and admirable, beautiful and respectful, pure and holy, merciful and kind. And fasten your thoughts on every glorious work of God, praising Him always.” Philippians 4:6-8 Passion Translation

These verses are important to our daily walking in the power and glory of God. If we are pulled in two different directions – faith and the presence of God verses worry about what is going on in the world, then will that diminish the reflection of the light we carry; do we diminish the power of our risen Lord flowing through us and in us. We can’t be divided in our hearts between His kingdom and the earthly realms. We can become double-minded making it hard to walk in the Spirit because the world and its cares (covid, politics, etc.) war for our attention and our concern. While we physically live in this world, we are citizens of heaven in our response to the world. “Father, help us to strive for Your kingdom as we walk in the world unafraid because Jesus has given us all things pertaining to life and godliness.”


Thursday, January 13th – Day 5
Expectations
“But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.” James 1:6 (NIV)

How often do we expect someone to do something for us simply because we asked?  Well, not simply because we asked, but because they also agreed to perform said task/request.  And, how many times has that person, or any number of others, let us down by not following through?  Has it been enough times that it has made it difficult for us to even muster up the courage to ask for help…even when we may need it the most?  It could be something “small” like driving us to a medical appointment, picking up our meds or a takeout order.  

Or, something major from watching our children for a few days to helping us pack and move….or, the dreaded borrowing of money. Regardless of what the request is, sometimes the very thought of having to ask someone for help is daunting, nerve-wracking and frightening.  This is probably even more true for those that may tend to ask more than the average person.  How many times have YOU been the recipient of a request and not really “jumped” at the opportunity to help out someone in their time of need?  Did you do what was asked?  If so, was it with a cheerful heart or begrudgingly out of what felt like an obligation? Do we treat God in the same manner?  

This question goes both ways.  Meaning, do we hesitate to ask our Father for what we need because we feel that we have tapped out our supply of requests?  Or, do we know that He’s requesting something of us and we either do so “kicking and screaming” or with a less than cheerful heart and attitude, if we do it at all? The Word of God tells us that He knows our needs before we even ask (Matthew 6:8) and that God loves a cheerful giver (2 Corinthians 9:7).  This is not only referring to money.  It can apply to time, talent and knowledge as well.  It is by His grace that we receive these things without hesitation.  It is by that same grace that we should give these things without hesitation.  When we recognize the cycle of “grace in, grace out”, rinse and repeat, it becomes easier to be a cheerful recipient AND giver. A word of caution here, we shouldn’t GIVE BECAUSE WE EXPECT TO RECEIVE.  That is a self-centered motivation vs. a God-centered motivation of doing to others what we would have them do to us (Matthew 7:12).  

However, the very nature of God’s desire to supply His children with their every NEED, is reason enough to live with a heart of expectation.  When we pray and talk to God, are we doing so with an open heart of expectation that He will give us the very thing that we need?  Or, are we like the wave of the sea, blown around by doubt?  Are we yet hopeful, but not expectant?  Why is there doubt?  Could it be that we have other unanswered prayers?  Really, they probably are answered but we didn’t like or want to accept the answer.  What if we had expected a new job, a better health report or even a spouse and God didn’t “deliver”?  Does that mean that He won’t in HIS timing?  Are we to completely give up on Him and just throw the baby out with the bath water and consider everything we’ve ever desired to be a lost cause? The answer to that is “No, of course not”.  When we have complete trust in God, His timing and the fullness thereof, we can’t help but to live with open, expectant hearts.  We must give way to His will and EXPECT Him to cheerfully GIVE to us what He knows is best for us, WHEN it is best for us.  Or, not at all if that is His will. As we have entered into a new year, is your heart open and expectant?  Or is it wrought with doubt from letdowns of the past due to misplaced expectations in man when, in reality, we should place our trust in the Lord as countless scriptures impart?  

Psalms 118:8 states, “It is better to take refuge in the LORD, than to trust in people.” (NLT) Be encouraged to have a heart that is open to expecting the goodness of the Lord to show up in your life on a daily basis– because it does in even the smallest of ways and, oftentimes, when we aren’t looking.  It is through reflection that we realize it.

“Heavenly Father, thank You for allowing another year to come upon us.  Thank You for Your cheerful, graceful giving of our every need.  Lord, as we go about each day this year, open our eyes to clearly see Your loving grace and provision of not only our desires, but especially our most basic needs.  Remind us to not only be expectant recipients, but cheerful givers of all that You have graciously given to us.  Help us to do all that we do as if we are doing so unto You (Matthew 25:34-46).  Present us with ways and opportunities to graciously show who You are through our own actions and words.  Let the feeling become so contagious that it causes a ripple effect that reaches beyond us and begins to take root in those around us beginning in our very own homes.  For it is by this movement, that Your grace, mercy and glory will be revealed and proclaimed throughout the world.  We pray these things in the mighty name of Your Son, Jesus.  Amen.”


Wednesday, January 12th – Day 4
Celebrate the good news…… Rejoice and be exceedingly glad because we have unlimited access to God through Christ Jesus our Lord.  No wait times, wristband, codes, or high priest needed.  Full access has been granted, not because you're good, great, or making progress, but only because we have been justified (Made right) by the blood of Christ.  Grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.  Access granted!  Ephesians 2  Extra! Extra! Read all about it!  God is still on the throne. He sees your tears and hears your cry. Our God is not snoozing on your prayers.  The seemingly napping God is aligning all of history to deliver on His promise to answer your prayers. Don’t mistake his delay for denial.  The greatest suspense movie falls short in comparison to our God….the (Author of suspense.) In just the right time you’ll look up and realize God our redeemer is alive and well. Raise your level of expectation, praise God and believe as though you already have it.  All of history proves there’s nothing that He can’t do; He’s faithful and true. Trust and Believe!
"And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Matthew 21:22

Tuesday, January 11th – Day 3
"Then Jacob was left alone; and a Man wrestled with him until the breaking of day. Now when He saw that He did not prevail against him, He touched the socket of his hip; and the socket of Jacob’s hip was out of joint as He wrestled with him. And He said, “Let Me go, for the day breaks.” But he said, “I will not let You go unless You bless me!” So, He said to him, “What is your name?” He said, “Jacob.” And He said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel; for you have struggled with God and with men and have prevailed.” Then Jacob asked, saying, “Tell me Your name, I pray.” And He said, “Why is it that you ask about My name?” And He blessed him there. So, Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: “For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved.” Just as he crossed over Penuel the sun rose on him, and he limped on his hip. Therefore, to this day the children of Israel do not eat the muscle that shrank, which is on the hip socket, because He touched the socket of Jacob’s hip in the muscle that shrank." 
                                                                                                                                               Genesis 32:24-32.

I love this account of Jacob’s struggle with the man who appeared to him.  It’s one of several accounts in the Old Testament where God appears and relates to people in human form. That it is God in human form is stated by the man himself in vs. 28 and by Jacob in vs. 30. The amazing thing is that Jacob held his own in this wrestling match as it says that he “prevailed”.  God loves it when we press into Him and we don’t give up.

He is moved to bless us when we hold on to Him and we don’t let go.  God will even reveal to us aspects of our identity in Him when we do this just as He did for Jacob when He revealed his new name, Israel. This not only identified Jacob from then on but it was the identity of a nation which God had determined to birth when He called Abraham.  Of course, Jacob’s natural inclination was to produce things in his own strength and his own way.

So, God put a lifetime reminder in Jacob’s hip about who really was in charge.  Our experiencing His blessing in our lives depends on us continuing to surrender to Him on a daily basis, and thus fulfilling His purpose for creating us which is to reflect His divine image to everyone around us.  
“Father, help me to enjoy the times in my relationship with you that seem to be a struggle since I know the outcome is change for the good and a divine blessing which lasts.” 

Monday, January 10th – Day 2
From the very beginning when God said in Genesis 1:26, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…”, he stated a purpose for mankind that most people largely ignore.  Most people have gone on to embrace what God said about having dominion and ruling on the earth as the main purpose for God’s creation of human beings but, His first purpose for us was to be image-bearers of the divine. It was God’s plan for Adam and Eve and their offspring to populate and subdue the earth, but to do that as sons of God reflecting His nature and image while doing that. Of course, Adam and Eve sinned and God had to change His original plan for them however, He still is committed to the same purpose He created us for and has made a way through Jesus Christ for us to be His image-bearers. “Now may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”  1 Thessalonians 5:23.
God’s intention, through our relationship with Him, is to change us to reflect His divine image more and more in our entire being.
“Father, we thank you so much for calling us to the purpose of bearing your divine image. We thank you for Jesus Christ who cleanses us from all sin and desires to live through us by His Spirit. We yield ourselves to the process to be converted so that we would reflect Christ in all we do.” Amen


Sunday, January 9th – Day 1
Jesus knew he was here to save us from our sin and its punishment. He knew that he had to teach, heal the sick, suffer and rise from the dead to give us new life. He wants all to come to faith in him, but some will not. By his grace, he restores us, grows us, and enables us to be more like him. He is merciful, loving, and true. Let us thank him for his gifts to us. Jesus' life was foretold thousands of years before he came by prophets, in psalms, and by leaders of the Jewish people. His birth, his hardships, miracles, death, and resurrection as the son of God were all foretold. He was the perfect sacrifice for our sinfulness. He showed us who he is and taught us how to live. His promise is eternal life with Him in glory for all those who repent and believe in him. Let us praise him for his great love for us. After his resurrection Jesus breathed the Holy Spirit on the disciples, commissioning them with the authority to forgive or retain the sins of anyone. Later there was another outpouring of the Holy Spirit on them at Pentecost. Shortly after that, Peter and John returned from declaring the gospel message to Jewish leaders and healing a sick man to a gathering of believers. The room shook and the Holy Spirit poured out onto them all again. The Holy Spirit is sent to us to uphold, encourage, and empower us to use his gifts and proclaim Jesus as Lord. Let us be open to receiving your powerful anointing and use them to minister to others.