Day Five: Enduring Love – Having Much Hope

Romans 5:1-5 (NIV) – “Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

 Romans 8:28 (NLT) – “And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them.

2 Corinthians 4:17 (NIV) – “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.”

“The reason Paul gives for saying that this hope will not disappoint us is that God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. It is because of ‘God’s love made palpable in the experience of the Spirit (v. 5b)’ that we have confidence and do not lose hope.” [Colin G. Kruse, The Pillar New Testament Commentary: Paul’s Letter to the Romans, page 231]

Because we have such assurance of God’s love being testified in our hearts through the Holy Spirit, we can walk through whatever difficulties or challenges in life with much hope.  We know that God causes everything to work together for the good, which is for his glory in our lives.  And, our troubles are momentary as we look forward to the eternal glory that “far outweighs them all.”

Prayer: Father, as the Holy Spirit testifies of your love in our hearts, we trust that the hope we have in you will never disappoint.  No matter what we are facing or have to walk through in life, we place all of our hope in you.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

“Anchor” written by Ben Fielding, Dean Usher (Hillsong). Link: https://youtu.be/87GYkLfQQ-8

– EK

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Day Four: Supreme Love

Romans 5:6-11 (NIV) – “You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. “Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

“And why not rejoice in God? His people have been reconciled to him by the death of Christ and experience daily deliverance from evil through Christ’s resurrection life, while the end to which they confidently look forward is no longer the outpouring of divine wrath but the unveiling of divine glory. And from first to last they ascribe their blessings to God’s love. It was because of that love that Christ laid down his life for them when they were weak, sinful and totally unattractive. Human love will go to death itself for those who are its natural objects, but hardly for the unlovely and unloving. Yet this is where the love of God shines most brightly: God confirms his love to us in the fact that Christ died for us while we were in a state of rebellion against him. So entirely at one are the Father and the Son that the self-sacrifice of the latter can be presented as a token of the love of the former. The death of Christ is indeed the supreme manifestation of God’s love. What a perversion of the divine character it is to imagine that Christ died for human beings in order to make God love them! That a change in their relation to God is brought about by the death of Christ is clearly taught here and elsewhere; but no change is involved in the reality of God’s love.” [F. F. Bruce, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries: Romans, pp. 125-126]

Prayer: Father, how great, how supreme is the love you displayed through Christ! Thank you that through the death of Christ, I have been reconciled to you and now confidently look forward to the unveiling of your glory.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.

“No One Like Our God” written by Ed Cash, Jonas Myrin, Matt Redman. Link: https://youtu.be/gTc5s4DqEDo

– EK

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Day Three: Love Divine Experienced

Romans 5:5 (NIV) – “And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”

Romans 8:15-16 (NIV) – The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, ‘Abba, Father.’ The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children.”

“The NIV’s ‘God’s love’ may also be translated as ‘the love of God’, and this may be understood in two ways. First, as our ‘love for God’ — the presence of the Holy Spirit then creating in us a love for God. Second, it could be understood as ‘God’s love for us’ — the Holy Spirit filling us with a sense of God’s love for us. Two considerations support the latter: (i) In the immediate context Paul goes on to describe the outstanding nature of God’s love for us (Romans 5: 6-11, esp. 5:8: ‘God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’); (ii) In Romans 8:15-16 Paul says, ‘The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father”. The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children’. In this case the Holy Spirit creates within believers a sense of their filial relationship with God, a sense of God’s love for them as his children. “ [Colin G. Kruse, The Pillar New Testament Commentary: Paul’s Letter to the Romans, page 231]

Prayer: Father, thank you that Your Spirit testifies in my heart that I am your child. Would you fill me once again with your love through your Holy Spirit?   In Jesus’ name. Amen

“No Longer Slaves” written by Brian Johnson, Joel Case, Jonathan David Helser. Link: https://youtu.be/f8TkUMJtK5k

– EK

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Day Two: Love So Strong and So Sure

Romans 8:31-39 (NIV) – What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

“It is that love, finally, that comes back again and again, not as an afterthought but as the underlying theme of the entire section.  We cast our minds back to Romans 5:5-11, where the love of God was demonstrated in the death of Jesus, and we realize that we have come full circle.  John Donne, indeed, likened the love of God to a circle, seeing that it is endless.  It rules victoriously over death and life alike, over powers in heaven and on earth.  And since it is love’s nature to bind the beloved to itself, Paul is convinced, and after eight chapters of Romans he might expect that we would be as well, that ‘nothing in all creation can separate us from the love of God in King Jesus our Lord.’”

(N.T. Wright, Paul for Everyone: Romans: Part One, page 161)

Prayer:  Lord, thank you for such assurance of your love!  Help me to live in the security and power of your love. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

“One Thing Remains (Your Love Never Fails)” written by Brian Johnson, Christa Black Gifford, Jeremy Riddle (Bethel Live version). Link: https://youtu.be/Ot6JKzTSby0

 

– EK

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Day One: Love Divine

Romans 5:5-8 (NIV) – And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

At the age of 35 years old, after growing up in a Christian home and having even been on a disappointing mission trip, John Wesley reluctantly went to a meeting on Aldersgate Street in London.  As he was hearing God’s word in Romans being expounded on by Martin Luther’s writings, he “felt his heart strangely warmed.” And he recalls being able to receive such assurance of his faith: “I felt I did trust in Christ alone for salvation; and an assurance was given me that He had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.” Continuing, he said, “I felt that God loved me. I experienced that God loved me. It was no longer something in my head, but something I felt in my heart.”

After this experience, he became a great traveling preacher and from there, he and his brother Charles became responsible for organizing the Methodist church movement.

Prayer:  Lord, may I be undone, changed and renewed today by the power of your love. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

“The Power of Your Love” written by Geoff Bullock (Hillsong). Link: https://youtu.be/Ga6Qtxzd6vk

– EK

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Day Five: We have access to unlimited resources!

Ephesians 1:18-20 (NIV) – “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.”

 

John 15:5-8 (NIV) – “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

God has given us unlimited resources- “the riches of his glorious inheritance and his incomparably great power” –  because of the mission He calls us to. We don’t own these riches – they belong to Jesus. We don’t own the power – Jesus was given all authority and power. We don’t own the gifts – the blessing of the gifts flows through us.  We have access because Jesus dwells in us, but how do we access?

Jesus says, “I am the vine; you are the branches.” We are to believe by remaining connected to Him. The key to access is to remain connected moment by moment to Jesus. Everything about us is now wired to perfectly fit with God – our DNA, our heart, mind, soul, strength – our entire being.  We are now designed to engage our whole being for the glory of God and to hear, see, learn and live by His presence. Everything about us is to be incorporated into what God is doing through fellowship with Him. When we remain in Him, we are made ready to exercise the gifts to love and edify others when the Spirit calls and leads us.

Let’s pray and ask that our hearts would change even more and embrace more diligently remaining in Christ through His word, worship, prayer and community life. Let’s also continue to pray that God would lead us to experience and witness greater blessings of healings, transformation and salvation among us!

– CH

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Day Four: God has Placed the Parts

1 Corinthians 12:14-20 (NIV)“Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body.”

When we look at one another, we can have the tendency to associate the differences we see with inferiority. But in God’s world, every person and the gifts we have been given matter, because God has redeemed us and arranged it all to fit and function together just as He wants it to be. Now some parts may strengthen more quickly, some may be more out in the open while others are more hidden from the public eye. But without this diversity, what would the body be? The redeeming power of God’s salvation is more than able to enable us to function together in His power and minister as Christ in the world.

So, let’s not neglect or resist the gifts that God gives us. Instead, let’s be thankful and ask God for humility to make our hearts and minds even more together with what He has arranged. Let’s also ask for the redeeming power of God’s salvation to fill us and to manifest in greater healings, more miracles, more salvations!

– CH

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Day Three: One body, many parts – God’s unity

1 Corinthians 12: 8-14 (NIV) – To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines. Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.”

Paul is using the analogy of the physical body to illustrate how we are together the body of Christ. It’s not a common style or mission that binds us. What binds us together is far more powerful and eternal – each one of us has died with Christ and was raised with Him – “For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body…and we were all given the one Spirit to drink.”

God did not give Spiritual gifts to us so that we would shine and function individually. Nor are we just “community”. We are the body of Christ, redeemed, empowered and gifted to display and share Christ in the world. The gifts of the Spirit work most effectively out of this unity.

Let’s ask God to purify our hearts to see and understand who we are as His church from His eyes, Let’s also thank and praise God for the beautiful and powerful unity of being His church, and may the Spirit fill us even more to strengthen and empower this unity so that gifts of the Spirit may be fruitful as we minister.

– CH

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Day Two: “They were cut to the heart”

Acts 2: 36-38,41 (NIV) – “‘Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.’  When the people heard this, they were cut to the heart and said to Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?’

“Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit…’ Those who accepted his message were baptized, and about three thousand were added to their number that day.”

“I had such an experience of His love,” D.L. Moody recalled later, “that I had to ask Him to stay His hand. I went to preaching again. The sermons were not different; I did not present new truths, and yet hundreds were converted. I would not now be placed back where I was before that experience if you should give me all the world.” Moody was already actively involved in preaching the Gospel, but his experience provided new power for ministry. [R. Nathan, K. Wilson, Empowered Evangelicals]

When Peter preached on the day of Pentecost, his words cut people to the heart, and about three thousand believed and were baptized. D.L Moody experienced the filling of the Holy Spirit and received new power for ministry and hundreds were saved. We too can ask for and welcome the Holy Spirit to empower our sharing of the Gospel, so that persons we share with are cut to the heart and saved.

Let’s pray today and ask God for more of His empowering to come upon us. Let’s ask God to stir up the gift of evangelism among us, and to fill us with His love and anoint the very words we speak when we share the Gospel so more may be added to God’s family.

– CH

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Day One: God gives us gifts!

1 Corinthians 12:4-7,11 (NIV) – “There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good…All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.”

What wonderful grace God gives to us. He gives Spiritual gifts to His believers, to the body of Christ. The gifts are abilities or tools given to us by the Spirit’s empowering to enable us to minister in specific ways to advance God’s kingdom. And it’s a gift! It’s not a reward or a merit badge. Spiritual gifts are not to elevate us or be some measure of our spiritual maturity. The gifts are given to us for service, for the common good, to lift up others, to edify others and build up God’s church. It’s not about us. It’s about Jesus. This is the marvelous grace of God at work in our lives.

Let’s seek God in prayer concerning the gifts He has given to us – may He stir them up and strengthen them. Let’s also ask God to help us step up in faith and exercise the  Spiritual gifts so that God’s church would be built up.

– CH

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