Day Four: Mercy Intervenes

Psalm 123:3-4 (MSG)
We’re watching and waiting, holding our breath,
awaiting your word of mercy.
Mercy, God, mercy!
We’ve been kicked around long enough,
Kicked in the teeth by complacent rich men,
kicked when we’re down by arrogant brutes.

“We live under mercy…He rules, guides, commands, loves us as children whose destinies he carries in his heart. The word mercy means that the upward look to God in the heavens does not expect God to stay in the heavens but to come down, to enter our condition, to accomplish the vast enterprise of redemption, to fashion in us his eternal salvation.” [Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction]

The psalmist is confident that God will show mercy. On what or whom are you basing your confidence today?

God rules, guides, commands, loves us as children whose destinies he carries in his heart. Is this the experience in your relationship with God?

What are you trying to accomplish – is it in line with God’s vast enterprise of redemption?

Things can turn today. God is not distant. He is the God of mercy who came to us and is with us. Are you experiencing troubles? Do you need God’s help yet feel that God is distant?

Today, let’s humbly place our confidence in God’s mercy. Let’s ask God to strengthen our believing that he is our loving Father who carries our destinies in his heart and to intervene to fashion in us his eternal salvation.

– CH

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Day Three: Mercy, God, Mercy!

Psalm 123:2b-3 (MSG/NIV)

We’re watching and waiting, holding our breath,
awaiting your word of mercy.
Mercy, God, mercy!
Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us

“The basic conviction of a Christian is that God intends good for us and that he will get his way in us. He does not treat us according to our deserts, but according to his plan…He is a potter working with the clay of our lives…until, finally, he has shaped a redeemed life, a vessel fit for the kingdom. “Mercy, God, mercy!”: the prayer is not an attempt to get God to do what he is unwilling otherwise to do, but a reaching out to what we know that he does do, an expressed longing to receive what God is doing in and for us in Jesus Christ.” [Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction]

Exodus 33:19b says, “… I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.” What does this reveal about God’s nature?

What does the psalmist expect to receive from God?

Prayer is “reaching out to what we know that he does do, an expressed longing to receive what God is doing in and for us in Jesus Christ.” How should this change what we ask in prayer?

Today, bring each of your life concerns to God and cry out, “Mercy, God, mercy! Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy on us.

– CH

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Day Two: Humble Trust

Psalm 123:2-3 (MSG)

Like servants, alert to their master’s commands,
like a maiden attending her lady,
We’re watching and waiting, holding our breath,
awaiting your word of mercy.
Mercy, God, mercy!

“We are not presented with a functional god who will help us out of jams…We are presented with the God of exodus and Easter, the God of Sinai and Calvary. If we want to understand God, we must do it on his terms. If we want to see God the way he really is, we must look to the place of authority – to Scripture and to Jesus Christ.” [Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction]

Servants could not lash out or defend themselves. They had one option – look to their masters to intervene and defend. This describes the servant heart we are to have – humble trust that places all hope exclusively in God.

The servant-master relationship was one of order – servants lived subject to the authority of masters. Reflect on your relationship with God – is it subject to the authority of Jesus Christ?

What areas of your life are you trying to control rather than looking to God with humble dependence and trust?

Today, let’s surrender control of these areas over to the Lord, asking God for his order to reign in our lives, and for help to humbly put off pride and put on trust by placing our hope in Him alone.

– CH

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Day One: Look to the Lord

I look to you, heaven-dwelling God,
look up to you for help.

We’ve been kicked around long enough,
Kicked in the teeth by complacent rich men,
kicked when we’re down by arrogant brutes.

“Worldliness is that system of values and beliefs, behavior and expectations, in any given culture that have at their center the fallen human being, and that relegate to their periphery any thought about God.” [Stephen Yuille, Longing for Home]

Jesus said, “If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:19).

What kinds of opposition are you facing as you try to live for Christ?

In the face of difficulties, what sins may we be tempted to commit?

According to Ps 123:1, how are we to respond?

God is enthroned in heaven– what does this reveal about his character and power?

Our life journey of discipleship will be marked with opposition until Christ returns. Are you tempted to hold back or to give in to old sinful habits? Are you running out of steam? Look to the Lord for he is enthroned and cry out asking for God’s empowering to restore and sustain us as we journey forward. As we pray, praise the Lord for His majesty and worship with, “Is He Worthy?” by Chris Tomlin (click here).

– CH

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Day Five: Pray For Peace

Philippians 4: 6-7 (NLT) – Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

Christ-centeredness of worship leads us to pray for the peace of the community and others around. Let’s look into this peace from the letter to the Philippians.

(1) No one is exempt from stress and worries. How are we to combat this disabling distraction according to verse 6?

(2) We usually define peace as the absence of troubles or resolution of conflicts. What do you suppose God’s peace is like that exceeds anything we can understand? What areas of your life do you need God’s peace?

(3) What are the effects of the experience of God’s peace? How do you picture your life looking like as a result of God’s peace?

Prayer: Let’s pray about everything that is in direct opposition of knowing God’s peace. Let’s bring him our needs and let’s give thanks for all that he has done in our lives, in our church. Let’s pray that our church community will experience even more of God’s peace and prosperity.

Song: Let’s meditate on this song, “You Are My Peace”by Housefires (click here).

– MK

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Day Four: Beyond Higher

Isaiah 55:8-9 (NLT)

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the Lord.
    “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.
For just as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so my ways are higher than your ways
    and my thoughts higher than your thoughts.

Worship leads us to seek and trust God’s judgment and leading over our lives. Let’s look in depth through the Prophet Isaiah.

(1) In what ways do you find comforting to know that God’s thoughts are nothing like our thoughts?

(2) What is the prophet trying to tell us about the distance that exists between our ways compared to the Lord? What is he trying to make sure that we understand?

(3) Next time you sing a song of worship that exalts the Lord and His wonderful ways, think about how it comes directly against reliance on self-generated thinking and decision making. What changes should you make in your decision-making strategies?

Prayer: Let’s ask the Holy Spirit to help us trust God’s ways and thoughts (judgments) and to be thoroughly transformed by the word of God.

Song: Let’s proclaim as sing, “God and God Alone” by Chris Tomlin (click here).

– MK

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Day Three: The Need To Feel

Psalm 42:1-2 (NLT)
As the deer longs for streams of water,
    so I long for you, O God.
I thirst for God, the living God.
    When can I go and stand before him?

Worship awakens our hearts with feelings for the need of God. Let’s look more in depth through Psalm 42:1-2.

(1) The Psalmist paints a wonderful image of the deer longing for water and we can immediately assume how instinctive that reaction is. In what ways is the neglect of worship depriving to our souls?

(2) What is the ultimate solution that the psalmist is suggesting to quench his thirst?

(3) What other “thirsts” do you see in your life that could possibly compete with the longing for the Lord? What changes do you see needs that will help you thirst more for the Lord?

Prayer: Ask the Holy Spirit to “reawaken” your heart to thirst and long for God!

Song: Let’s meditate on this song, “As The Deer” by Maranatha Praise Band (click here).

– MK

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Day Two: Built Solid

Luke 6:46-49 (NLT) – So why do you keep calling me “Lord, Lord!” when you don’t do what I say? I will show you what it’s like when someone comes to me, listens to my teaching, and then follows it. It is like a person building a house who digs deep and lays the foundation on solid rock. When the floodwaters rise and break against that house, it stands firm because it is well built. But anyone who hears and doesn’t obey is like a person who builds a house right on the ground, without a foundation. When the floods sweep down against that house, it will collapse into a heap of ruins.

According to Psalm 122, worship helps us set the structure of our lives by reminding us who created us, to whom we belong and where we stand. Jesus’ teaching on the Beatitudes helps us to look into greater depth of that reality.

(1) What is the main issue at the beginning of the story and what commands are the listeners supposed to follow?

(2) What is the main difference between the two builders?

(3) What is digging deep and laying the foundation on solid rock in real life? What changes do you see needing to happen in your own life?

Prayer: Ask the Holy Spirit to help you be set on the foundation of Christ, a life of obedience, not just listening but following through with action.

Song: let’s worship through singing, “Cornerstone” by Hillsong (click here).

– MK

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Day One: Leap For Joy

Psalm 42:4 (NLT)

My heart is breaking
    as I remember how it used to be:
I walked among the crowds of worshipers,
    leading a great procession to the house of God,
singing for joy and giving thanks
    amid the sound of a great celebration!

Psalm 122 begins with the author exclaiming how he leaped for joy when he heard the call to go to the house of the Lord. You can say that his heart was revived because of the anticipation of worship. Let’s look at Psalm 42:4 for a deeper insight of the heart that is set on worship.

(1) The Psalmist says that his heart is breaking as he recalls how they used to worship the Lord. What does that tell us about the importance of worship? What challenges do you face when you want to make worship a priority, a non-negotiable deal breaker?

(2) What kind of feelings does one get being part of a crowd of worshipers, banding together in a procession? Do you experience the same feeling when you are together with the Church on Sundays or in your small groups?

(3) Lastly the Psalmist describes a life of joyful singing, thanksgiving embedded in the sound of a great celebration. If you were to compare with your life, what changes do you see needing to happen so that the “sound” that your life produces is of a great celebration, full of joy and thanksgiving?

Prayer: Let’s pray that the Holy Spirit would help us to realign our motives to place worship of God as the non-negotiable priority in our lives. Let’s ask for revival in our hearts that produces the sound of great celebration of joy and thankfulness to the Lord.

Song: Let’s follow along with this song by Brian Doerksen, “Will You Worship” (click here).

– MK

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Day Five: According to His Purpose

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.

“The promise of [Psalm 121]…is not that we shall never stub our toes but that no injury, no illness, no accident, no distress will…be able to separate us from God’s purposes in us.” [Eugene Peterson, A Long Obedience in the Same Direction, p. 42]

God’s providence ensures us that he is continually involved in our lives to make sure everything goes according to his plan.

What does it mean when “God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them?”

How can we practically “love God” today and be assured of our “calling” in him?

Romans 8:26-27 tells us that “Holy Spirit helps us in our weakness” and when we don’t know what to pray for, the “Holy Spirit prays for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in words” and“the Spirit pleads for us believers in harmony with God’s own will.”

As we close in prayer, let’s pray in the Spirit to align our hearts and lives with his will and purposes. Let’s also pray that more of God’s will would be accomplished in our ministries and communities as we continue to submit and yield to him.

– GW

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