Day 4: There’s a Temporal Anomaly Developing!

“‘He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death’ or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. He who was seated on the throne said, ‘I am making everything new!’ Then he said, ‘Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.’” (Rev 21:4-5)

People feel the effects of time in one direction, that is, from the past to the present. If possible, humans would time-travel into the past to change events and make things better today. We are convinced that the power lies in the past. However, Christians are no longer held hostage to the past. They are now impacted by the future. It is the power of God’s future promise that travels back in time to affect us today. The Holy Spirit is the means by which we can experience the life of the promised future right now.

Questions: How does this change your perspective on the “power” of time? How does the present reality of Holy Spirit run counter to our natural ways of thinking about time?

Let’s pray: “Heavenly Father, thank you freeing freeing me from my past. I am no longer held hostage to the shockwaves of past events. I am now living under the shockwaves of your future for me. I am now impacted the blessings the new creation.”

Worship and pray with “The Same Jesus” (click here) by Matt Redman

-ES

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Day 3: Future Shock

“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… not only in the present age but also in the one to come.” (Eph 1:18-21)

“If there is no evidence of the newness as something lived, should we not be laughed out of sight? The church has the task of demonstrating the presence of the new age in the midst of the old. That means living into one’s own God-defined future.” (Snodgrass, Who God Says You Are: A Christian Understanding of Identity)

Questions: If someone asked you why you believe the new creation can be experienced today, could you share a recent personal story? Just as Paul exclaimed, “I have seen the Lord,” we too must also have stories to share with the outside world. The world is longing to see the new creation in action.

Let’s pray: “Jesus, thank you for all new creation I’ve experienced so far. To the glory of your name, let there be even more in my life and my church. Let me have new stories to share with others for this world longs to see that what we have is real.”

-ES

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Day 2: Jesus is Our Prototype

“While they were still talking about this, Jesus himself stood among them and said to them, ‘Peace be with you.’ They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost. He said to them, ‘Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have.’ When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet. And while they still did not believe it because of joy and amazement, he asked them, ‘Do you have anything here to eat?’ They gave him a piece of broiled fish, and he took it and ate it in their presence.” (Luke 24:36-42)

Questions: Would you invest in a product on GoFundMe or Shark Tank that was just theoretical and didn’t have a working prototype? What if the product was not theoretical but was already real and had a proven working prototype? We know the new creation is not a theory but is real. How do we know that? Because Jesus resurrected from the dead. Just think about that… the new creation is available for us to experience today because Jesus is alive!

Let’s pray: “Thank you Father, that we can enjoy the benefits of the new creation today. I believe healing and restoration is available today. Let the new creation invade my life, my family, my church.”

Celebrate with the song “Overcome” (click here) by Elevation Worship

-ES

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Day 1: Greater Than 1.21 Gigawatts

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” (2 Cor 5:17)

“The gospel is a weaving together of the past and the future, but humans do not handle time well, understandably so given its complexity. Some try to hold on to the past and fail to do justice to the present and future, but life is always changing… Some focus only on the present as if the past and future were irrelevant… Some focus on the future and fail to do justice to the present…

“Jesus encouraged—even forced—people to live in the present, based on the past, and pulled by the future. This triple hold on time deserves reflection, and we must do justice to the past, present, and future.” (Snodgrass, Who God Says You Are: A Christian Understanding of Identity)

Questions: Reflect on who you are. Are you someone who is more fixated on the present, the past, or the future? How is the Spirit leading you to redefine those three areas of your life?

Let’s pray: “Father in Heaven, give me a proper perspective on my whole life… past, present, and future, according to your Word. Let me see my whole life according to the finished work of Jesus on the cross, the present power of your Spirit in me, and your future promises that are YES and AMEN.”

Celebrate God’s great love with this song “My Future Decided” (click here) by Hillsong.

-ES

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Day 5: Lord, I Need You

Psalm 63: 1, 5b (NIV)
1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
5b I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

Psalm 63 is more than just a description of one who meets God, it is a prayer. For those of us who need to personally and intimately experience God’s crazy love today, let’s pray the same words as the psalmist: “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you.”

Our whole being longs for God and that includes our lips, our vocal cords, and our breath, so let’s vocalize this prayer throughout the day. After all, we need God in the morning, we need him in the middle of the day, and we need him in the evening. In these moments of prayer, the Lord comes and we are reminded that we are loved by him, he is for us, and he is involved in our every day. His love reorders our thoughts and reshapes our day so that we can live a life-response of love to God.

In verse 5, how does the psalmist describe the experience of God’s presence? What does the verse say is the psalmist’s response?

Prayer: “God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you. I thirst and long for you Lord. I need your love to live today. May your love reorder my thoughts and reshape my day. May I live a life-response of love to you today. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Lord, I Need You” (click here) by Matt Maher.

-LL

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Day 4: Satisfied and Thirsty for More

Psalm 63: 1, 5b (NIV)
1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
5b I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

A prayer inspired by Psalm 63:
“O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace… O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me.” (A.W. Tozer, Pursuit of God)

How does this prayer from A.W. Tozer give us insight into how we can grow in love and desire for God? What happens to those who are satisfied by God?

In daily practice, we can grow in love for Jesus by taking every opportunity God offers us to pursue him. What opportunities in the church is God giving you today to grow in love for him (eg. be part of small group, serve others, participate in prayer meetings, etc)?

Prayer: Let’s pray that we would be open and ready to take the new opportunities God is calling us to pursue him. Let’s pray for a growing love for Jesus both personally and in our churches. “Lord, your love satisfies me and makes me thirst for more of you! In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”

-LL

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Day 3: An Extravagant Response

Luke 7:37-38 (NIV)
37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

“This woman no longer cared what other people thought. She was so in love with Jesus that she forgot herself completely… She proceeded to pour out her perfume, anointing her Savior’s feet with scented oil. This was an expensive gift, almost certainly the most precious thing she owned, but she poured it all on the feet of Jesus. He was the treasure of her soul.” (Ryken, Loving Jesus, p.618)

Jesus says to those that are watching this moment unfold: “I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown.” Is this woman’s extravagant act earning Jesus’ forgiveness or is it a response to Jesus’ forgiveness?

When we experience God’s extravagant love we respond with extravagant love for him. What are concrete ways we can we express our love for Jesus today? How does love for God shape how we are to serve in the church, pray, read God’s word, and care for others?

Prayer: “Thank you God for your forgiveness! May I live today in response to your extravagant love. You are the treasure of my soul. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Worthy Is Your Name” (click here) by Elevation Worship.

-LL

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Day 2: Your Love is Better Than Life

Psalm 63 (NIV)
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

“Sometimes when I come home from work, my little girl greets me by running out to the driveway and jumping into my arms before I can even get out of the car… My own love and desire for my kids’ love is so strong that it opened my eyes to how much God desires and loves us. My daughter’s expression of love for me and her desire to be with me is the most amazing thing… Through this experience, I came to understand that my desire for my children is only a faint echo of God’s great love for me and for every person He made. I am just an earthly, sinful father, and I love my kids so much it hurts. How could I not trust a heavenly, perfect Father who loves me infinitely more than I will ever love my kids?” (Francis Chan, Crazy Love)

How does the love of this dad, as imperfect as he is, give us a greater understanding of God’s intense and perfect love for us?

The word “love” in this Psalm is the Hebrew word hesed, a multifaceted term that speaks to God’s loving-kindness, goodness, unmerited favor, loyalty, and steadfast love. How do these aspects of God’s hesed love give us a fuller picture of the “love that is better than life”?

Prayer: “Thank you Lord that your love is the love of the perfect Father. Today I will live confidently in your love as I face the challenges of school, work, and life. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Jesus Only You” (click here) by Martin Smith.

-LL

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Day 1: More Than the Air I Breathe

Psalm 84:2 (NIV)
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.

“Have you ever been under water for a period of time that is longer than you had expected? You know, as the time ticks away, how desperate you become to reach the surface and breathe the air. The greater the time you are under water, the more you long for a breath of air until that desire overwhelms you, and you rush to get to the surface as rapidly as possible. You have no other thoughts but quenching your need for air. That is what it means to long for God, to feel unfulfilled without Him.”
(Billy Graham, Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening)

The experience of meeting God and “breathing” his presence shows us what it’s like to live and breathe fully as Christians. We realize “Oh, this is normal! This is real living!” That experience of “breathing” teaches us the best place to be is to be with God.

In what ways do we get distracted and neglect our urgent need for the Lord’s presence? What are practical ways we can seek God today and be satisfied in him?

Prayer: “Lord, may I seek you and be satisfied in you today. There is no One else that I need and want. Thank you for your presence in my life and in our church. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”

-LL

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Day 5: Fitted for a Post-Sneaker World

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes… Stand firm then…with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace… [Take] the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6.10, 15, 17)

“Spiritual warfare is not only defensive; it also takes the offensive. Paul called the soldiers of Christ to advance on enemy territory… [T]he body of Christ plunders Satan’s kingdom by proclaiming the promise of divine rescue to captives in the kingdom of darkness.

“There is one part of the soldier’s gear that is not a weapon, but it is a furnishing that enables the soldier to take an offensive posture—good footwear. A typical soldier would journey for miles as his army advanced… The footgear of the Christian needs to be ‘the readiness to announce the Good News…’

“[T]he only offensive weapon…is the sword (Eph 6.17)… [T]he primary aggressive action the Christian is called to take in the world is to spread the gospel—the good news of salvation… The gospel represents ‘God’s power to rescue people from [the devil’s] tyranny.’ The whole course of Paul’s ministry is a model of this aggressive proclamation. The church should follow Paul’s lead.” (C. Arnold, Powers of Darkness)

How can you get geared up for this “battle”? Don’t just take a defensive posture in the spiritual battle, but ask the Lord to help you take the offensive as well! Let’s sing “Won’t Stop Now” by Elevation Worship (click here)

-JP

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