Day Five: Fixing Our Eyes – Endurance

Hebrews 12:1b-3 (NIV) – And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

“God calls you to persevere by faith, and then, with powerful grace, he protects and keeps you. In Romans 15:5, Paul calls your Lord “the God of endurance.” This title really gets at the center of where your hope is to be found…Let me state it plainly: your hope is not to be found in your willingness and ability to endure, but in God’s unshakable, enduring commitment to never turn from his work of grace. Your hope is that you have been welcomed into communion with One who will endure no matter what…Your hope of enduring is not to be found in your character or strength, but in your Lord’s. Because he will ever be faithful, you can bank on the fact that he will give you what you need to be faithful too. Your perseverance rests on him, and he defines what endurance looks like! When difficulty exposes the weakness of your resolve and the limits of your strength, you do not have to panic, because he will endure even in those moments when you don’t feel able to do so yourself.” [Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies. Crossway. Kindle Edition.]

How have you experienced God’s faithfulness?

Prayer: “Thank you Father for Your faithfulness!  Even though I may be shaky, You are unshakable and Your faithfulness will continue to endure. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Let’s worship to “You Never Let Go” by Matt Redman. [click here]

EK

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Day Four: Fixing Our Eyes – Waiting on Him

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) –…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Isaiah 40:31 (NIV) 31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

“Nowhere does the Bible teach that Christians are exempt from tribulation and natural disaster. We live in a world infected with the disease of sin, and we share in its misery and pain. But the Bible does teach that we can face trials with a power others do not have—the power of God. As we trust Him, God helps us endure, and even discern His purposes in the midst of suffering. Christiana Tsai, the Christian daughter of a former governor in China, wrote, ‘Throughout my many years of illness, I have never dared to ask God why He allowed me to suffer so long. I only ask what He wants me to do.’ The eagle has the unique ability to lock its joints and soar effortlessly on an updraft instead of flapping its wings. As we wait on God, He helps us use the winds of adversity to soar above our problems. As the Bible says, ‘Those who wait on the LORD . . . shall mount up with wings like eagles.’” [Billy Graham, Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening Devotions (p. 91). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.]

In whatever you are going through, let’s take a moment to prayerfully consider what would the Lord want you to do.

Prayer: “Father, I recognize that it is not about me, but about what you would want me to do.  I will wait on You. I will put my hope in You. I trust that you will enable me to soar above my problems.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Waiting Here for You” by Martin Smith. [click here]

EK

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Day Three: Fixing Our Eyes – Not Forgetting

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) –…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

2 Chronicles 32:7-8 (NIV) – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.”

“For the believer, fear is always God-forgetful. If  God is sovereign and his rule is complete, wise, righteous, and good, why would you fear? Judah had been invaded by the powerful king of Assyria, Sennacherib. Hezekiah prepared and armed Judah for battle…He knew that in these moments God’s people were often given to fear. They would forget who they were as the children of God and they would forget who God is in all his almighty power and glory…Hezekiah didn’t want the people of Judah to think that they were left to their battle courage, their war experience, and their skill with weapons. He wanted them to know that they had been amazingly blessed with another ingredient, one that they could not, must not forget. So he said: ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him…With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.’” [Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies. Crossway. Kindle Edition.]

What are the battles that you are facing?

Prayer: “Father, thank you that I am your child and that you fight my battles.  You are with me and are my help.  Would you grant me new strength and courage to face the battles. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.” [click here]

Let’s close in worship with “Good Forever” by Matt Redman.

 

EK

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Day Two: Fixing Our Eyes – Putting on Worship

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) –…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Acts 16:25 (NIV) – About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

“Jay was my favorite sister. Even though she was older, she didn’t treat me like a tagalong. She liked me. I tried to copy everything she did. Maybe that’s why, many years later in the early seventies, after my accident, she asked me to come live with her. I was still a novice at being a quadriplegic, struggling to adjust to life in a wheelchair. But Jay made the early years of adapting to paralysis bearable. Sometimes, even sweet. My favorite memory was one late summer evening on the back porch under a full moon when Jay pulled up her rocker…we lifted up our voices on a beloved old hymn: “There is a fountain filled with blood, / drawn from Immanuel’s veins, / and sinners plunged beneath that flood, / lose all their guilty stains.” Even in the hardest and darkest of times, our loving Father weaves treasured memories and intervals of music and laughter through our lives. And when we sing aloud of his goodness and grace, our pain — even if only for the moment — loses its grip.[Joni Eareckson Tada, Pearls of Great Price. Zondervan. Kindle Edition.]

What is our usual response to pain and difficulty?

Instead, let’s see how putting on worship changes the way we walk through the hard times.

Prayer: “Father, no matter how I feel or what I am going through, I choose to worship you.  You are good and your love endures in all ways in my life!  In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Let’s close in worship with “Goodness of God” by Bethel Music. [click here]

EK

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Day One: Fixing Our Eyes – Not Turning Aside

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) –…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Job 23:11 (NIV) – My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.

“Some scholars think Job may be the oldest book in the Bible. Whether that is true or not, it certainly deals with one of humanity’s oldest questions: Why does God allow suffering? It isn’t an easy issue, because it goes to the heart of our deepest questions about God. After all, the argument runs, how could a loving and gracious God allow suffering? To put it another way: if God lets us suffer, He must not love us. But that conclusion is false. God does love us, and the proof is the suffering He allowed His Son to endure on the cross. What, then, is the answer to this age-old question? The key is to understand the character of God. That is what Job discovered. No, God never gave him a logical, complete rationale for his suffering. But through his experience, Job came to realize that God could be trusted because He is merciful and loving. And you can trust God too—not because He always gives us all the answers, but simply because He is God.” [Billy Graham, Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening Devotions (p. 457). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.]

Take some time to consider the character of our God especially displayed through our Lord Jesus on the cross.

Prayer: “Father, no matter what I go through, let me not turn aside, but help to me remember and treasure your love and mercy displayed through our Lord Jesus on the cross. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Let’s close in worship to “Once Again” by Matt Redman. [click here]

EK

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Day Five: Examine My Heart

Psalm 139:1-6, 13-17, 23-24 (NLT)
O Lord, you have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
You go before me and follow me.
You place your hand of blessing on my head.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too great for me to understand!
You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in your book.
Every moment was laid out
before a single day had passed.
How precious are your thoughts about me,[b] O God.
They cannot be numbered!
Search me, O God, and know my heart;
test me and know my anxious thoughts.
Point out anything in me that offends you,
and lead me along the path of everlasting life.

Prayer: “Father, thank you for the ways you have shown the depths of your love and care over my life. ‘Such knowledge is too wonderful for me! Search my heart and point out anything in me that offends you.’ Help me to stay walking closely in your love. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Let’s close in worship with this song, “At the Cross,” (Click here) by Hillsong.

– EK

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Day Four: A Changed Heart

Romans 2:28-29 (NLT) – For you are not a true Jew just because you were born of Jewish parents or because you have gone through the ceremony of circumcision. No, a true Jew is one whose heart is right with God. And true circumcision is not merely obeying the letter of the law; rather, it is a change of heart produced by the Spirit. And a person with a changed heart seeks praise from God, not from people.

Ezekiel 36:26 (NLT) – And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart.

“The answer comes through the biblical echoes in verses 28 and 29. Paul is referring, not to any Gentile who happens to make a special moral effort, but to those who have God’s law written on their hearts by the Spirit…In line with the prophecies of Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36, and for that matter with the explosive spiritual experience of all the early Christians, Paul believed that through Jesus the Messiah Israel’s God had renewed the covenant, and was now welcoming into that new family all those, irrespective of ethnic background and hence of outward badges like circumcision, who believed the gospel. He is here sketching in, very briefly, the much fuller picture of the Christian life, of the renewal of the heart by God’s Spirit.” [N.T. Wright, Paul for Everyone: Romans, Part 1, pp. 40-41]

Prayer: “Father, thank you that you have taken out the stony, stubborn heart and have given me a new, tender and responsive heart. Would you fill me with your Spirit that I bear fruit for your praise and your glory! In Jesus’ Name. Amen”

Let’s worship with this song, “Dry Bones,” (Click here) by Worship Central.

– EK

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Day Three: Riches of His Kindness

Romans 2:21-22 (NIV) – You tell others not to steal, but do you steal? 22 You say it is wrong to commit adultery, but do you commit adultery? You condemn idolatry, but do you use items stolen from pagan temples?

Matthew 5:27-28 (NLT) – “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Romans 3:23 (NIV) – for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

Romans 2:4 (NIV) – Or do you show contempt for the riches of his kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God’s kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?

Like our Lord Jesus said, even if we look with lust, then the sin has already been committed. Whether it is the obvious/external sins or the “not so obvious”/internal sins, we need to see that sin is sin before the Lord, because “all have sinned.” It is when we recognize the old sinful ways for what they are, we can be rightly broken and really humble about our need for God and his forgiveness and know the riches of his kindness that leads us to repentance.

Let’s ask for the Spirit’s leading to humble brokenness about the old sinful ways and patterns that we need to confess before the Lord and for the riches of God’s kindness to lead us to repentance.

Let’s close in worship to this song, “Kindness,” (Click here) by Chris Tomlin.

– EK

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Day Two: No More Smoke Screens

Romans 2:1-3 (MSG) – Those people are on a dark spiral downward. But if you think that leaves you on the high ground where you can point your finger at others, think again. Every time you criticize someone, you condemn yourself. It takes one to know one. Judgmental criticism of others is a well-known way of escaping detection in your own crimes and misdemeanors. But God isn’t so easily diverted. He sees right through all such smoke screens and holds you to what you’ve done.
You didn’t think, did you, that just by pointing your finger at others you would distract God from seeing all your misdoings and from coming down on you hard?

Here is an example of how we can pridefully try to avoid or deflect God’s truth from piercing our hearts when it needs to. It doesn’t take much for us to relate to this. When specific areas of our lives is graciously being pointed out or when correction comes our way – what is often our first response – “why me?”, “but, ‘so and so’ does this and that”, “why aren’t they being corrected?”
When I get a speeding ticket, one of the first responses I have is to ask – “why didn’t the cop catch the other car that was going faster than me?” I avoid admitting, that of course, I was speeding too.
God sees right through our “smoke screens.”

Let’s pray for the humility to see what we need to see that is hindering in our lives before the Lord and to welcome God’s truth to pierce through in our hearts for greater transformation.
Let’s close in prayer with the song, “Inside Out” (Click here) by Hillsong.

– EK

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Day One: Off with the Old, On with the New!

Ephesians 4:20-24 (NLT) – But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy.

“So what Paul is urging the young Christians is that they allow this teaching of Jesus to have its full effect in their lives. Now that they are ‘in Christ,’ they have the responsibility, in the power of the Spirit, to take off the old lifestyle, the old way of being human, like someone stripping off a shabby and worn suit of clothing. It may have become comfortable. You may be used to it, and even quite like it. Familiar old clothes are often like that, and brand new ones often feel a bit strange. But if you want to live as a new person in and for the King, the old suit of clothes has to come off, and the new one has to go on.” [N.T. Wright, Paul for Everyone: The Prison Letters, p. 52]

Let’s pray and ask for the Spirit’s help to see the old prideful ways that need to be taken off, to be renewed in our thoughts and attitudes and to put on the new in Christ.
Let’s close in worship to the song, “All Things New” (Click here) by Elevation Worship.

– EK

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