Day Two: A Pleasant Journey

Ruth 1:3-5 – “Now Elimelek, Naomi’s husband, died, and she was left with her two sons. They married Moabite women, one named Orpah and the other Ruth. After they had lived there about ten years, both Mahlon and Kilion also died, and Naomi was left without her two sons and her husband.”

Read the following verses from Psalm 147 to find themes related to those found in Ruth:
Praise the Lord!
For it is good to sing praises to our God;
    for it is pleasant, and a song of praise is fitting.
He heals the brokenhearted
    and binds up their wounds…
Great is our Lord, and abundant in power;
    His understanding is beyond measure…
Praise the Lord.”
(Psalm 147:1-2, 5, 20)

Naomi’s name means “pleasant”… and she is someone we can all relate to. She wants a pleasant life, raise a family… nothing crazy… a reasonable, “normal” life. She made sensible decisions, just like we would. But her life is anything but pleasant… it is completely upended… she lost everything. Not only far from God’s promised land, people, presence… but now bereft of husband and two sons… she is utterly destitute. A brokenness only the Lord can heal and wounds only God can bind up. Apart from Jesus we can do nothing (Jn 15:5). But when we are with Him…Pray for the pleasantness (enjoyable life) that comes from being in His presence. Sing praises and let God fight for you as we worship to this song – “Surrounded (Fight My Battles)” (Click here) by Upperroom.

– JP

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Day One: Chasing That Bread

Ruth 1:1-2 – “In the days when the judges ruled, there was a famine in the land. So a man from Bethlehem in Judah, together with his wife and two sons, went to live for a while in the country of Moab. The man’s name was Elimelek, his wife’s name was Naomi, and the names of his two sons were Mahlon and Kilion. They were Ephrathites from Bethlehem, Judah. And they went to Moab and lived there.”

These judges were not magistrates overseeing legal matters in a courtroom. These judges were tribal, military leaders. The famous slogan from the book of Judges is “Everyone did what was right in their own eyes.” It was a violent and chaotic time.

It was like this because there was no king in Israel. And so, we meet Elimelek, whose name means “My God (is) King”. Curiously, Elimelek and Naomi decide to leave their King’s country for the sake of survival. Abandoning Bethlehem (literally “house of bread”), in search of food, they end up in Moab… far from God’s promised land, people, word and activity… but apparently they have bread there.

Has living in “survival mode” taken you far from God’s promises, people and activity? Maybe you have bread to eat… but, “Can [you] live on bread alone?” (Mt 4:4). Come to Jesus, the bread of life, so that you may never be thirsty again—Jn 6:35. Pray that you would live under the rule of our King Jesus! Let’s sing “All Hail King Jesus“! (Click here)

– JP

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Day Five: Don’t let it fester!

Matthew 9: 3 At this, some of the teachers of the law said to themselves, “This fellow is blaspheming!” 4 Knowing their thoughts, Jesus said, “Why do you entertain evil thoughts in your hearts?”

The response of the Lord to these teachers of the law who were accusing Jesus of blaspheming was—”why do you entertain evil thought sin your hearts?”

Jesus is here confronting the evil of sin—that undercurrent of unbelief that can taint the holy moments before the Lord.  The word ‘entertain’ can also mean ‘allow’, ‘let it remain’, ‘let it ‘fester’, ‘infect’, ‘rot’, and ‘become septic’. The question that Jesus is asking is “Why do you in the midst of God’s holiness and goodness, let evil thoughts fester and infect your hearts?”

Are there inward thoughts that tend to fester in your heart, such as—I am not favored by God, I failed the Lord again, He must be really sick of me, my shame will always be with me, etc.

Today the message of the Lord is very clear: Do not entertain evil thoughts! For God is always good, will always do good, and His goodness will follow us all the days of our lives!

Spend time asking the Lord to cleanse our minds of ‘evil’ thoughts that are contrary to His love and grace.  Spend time in worship today with the song ‘Fullness’ (click here).

-GK

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Day Four: He cares for us

Matthew 6:26 “Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your Heavenly Father feeds them.  Are you not much more valuable than they?”

“Worry is inappropriate or wrong when it is misdirected, is in wrong proportion, or indicates a lack of trust in God. It is this latter sense that Jesus addresses here. Jesus then directs a question to his disciples that assumes an immediate answer and response: “Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? The implied natural answer should be, “Yes, of course my life and my body are more important than food and clothing!” And the natural response to the argument should be, “If God has given me life and the body, He certainly will give me food and clothing.  [Hence], Jesus calls for them to live in the immediate challenge of daily trusting God in everyday situations.  [NIVAC, Wilkins, 297]

Do you have deep fear about your future, especially when it comes to provisions, such as jobs, family, money, etc. The old undercurrent is where worry was the only response we’ve known, for we were on our own, with no God caring and providing for our needs. However, that is no longer who we are! Our Father in heaven cares for our needs!  We are now to live in faith and confidence, and without fear.

Today, meditate and pray through the passage above, and worship with the song “I am not afraid” (click here).

-GK

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Day Three: Only the goodness of God

Jeremiah 31:3 ““I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.” (NASB)

Psalm 23:6 Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever. (NIV)

All of our lives without Jesus has been one of brokenness, where the undercurrent has been wrought by evil.  Perhaps for some of us, we’ve only known limited and ending love, which at times resulted in much violence and harshness.  Perhaps that still deeply affects you today.  However, as we receive the love of God, we are now completely immersed in God’s everlasting love and lovingkindness! This is now our reality and undercurrent.

Today as you pray through the two passages above, consider this: His goodness will pursue us—follow without ever letting up, all the days of our lives! As you pray, worship with the song “Always” (click here).

-GK

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Day Two: He alone is worthy!

Revelation 5 Then I saw in the right hand of him who sat on the throne a scroll with writing on both sides and sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming in a loud voice, “Who is worthy to break the seals and open the scroll?” But no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth could open the scroll or even look inside it. I wept and wept because no one was found who was worthy to open the scroll or look inside. Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.”

In Romans chapter 3, this is the state of humanity without God:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”

This is the undercurrent of this world, and there is no one worthy or holy in this world to enact the work of healing and salvation that we so desperately need. Hence the question in Revelation 5—is there anyone worthy to break the seal and open the scroll of salvation?  The answer is an emphatic no as John surveys humanity. However, there is one who is worthy, and He is Jesus.  He is worthy to save us!

Today, we are now living in the blessing and rescue of Jesus, who is worthy!  Spend time today in worship with the song “Is He Worthy” (click here).

-GK

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Day One: All His Benefits.

Psalm 103
Praise the Lord, my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
Praise the Lord, my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—
who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,
who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,
who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

Praise the Lord! With every fiber of our beings, let’s praise the Lord!  As those redeemed by the Lord, we are no longer under the old reality and undercurrent of sin—where every inclination, every experience was infused with this reality of evil—a life without God and His goodness. Instead, we are now enveloped and permeated with God’s goodness and benefits.  He forgives all our sins, heals all our diseases, and lifts us up from the pit.  This is now the new undercurrent and reality of our lives. Therefore, let’s come humbly before the Lord confessing and acknowledging the wrongs we have done, for He has forgiven all our sins. We are also to come before the Lord bringing all the broken areas, for He is the Lord our God who heals. And instead of being stuck in the pit of despair and discouragement, He crowns us with love and compassion.

Today let’s pray through this Psalm, acknowledging all of His benefits.  May we indeed experience the undercurrent of God’s goodness, for we are now God’s redeemed. As we pray, let’s worship with the song ‘Everything’ (click here).

-GK

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Day Five: Waiting In Hope

Romans 8:24-25 (NIV)
24 For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? 25 But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.

Luke 2:25-40 (NIV)
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:

29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you may now dismiss your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and the glory of your people Israel.”

As we continue to live and labor for the Lord daily, we wait patiently in the certain hope that has been secured for us in Jesus’ death and resurrection.

Prayer: “Thank you Lord for the certain hope we have to look forward to when you return.  Help us to be faithful as we wait patiently and may it be evident in how we live today.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Let’s worship to this song, “Hope for Everyone” (click here) by Matt Maher:

-EK

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Day Four: Obedient Hope

1 Peter 1:13-16 (NIV)
13 Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. 14 As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. 15 But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; 16 for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”

Matthew 1:20-24  (NIV)
 20 But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”). 24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife.

Joseph filled with hope in what was spoken to him by the angel of the Lord, he simply woke up and obeyed.

Prayer: As we have been given such hope in the Lord, let’s pray for the Spirit’s help to live in obedience to him.

Let’s also worship with this song, “His Name Shall Be” (click here) by Matt Redman:

-EK

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Day Three: Overflowing Hope

Romans 15:13 (NIV)
13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Luke 1:37, 45-55 (NRSV)
37 “For nothing will be impossible with God.”

45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.”

Mary’s Song of Praise
46 And Mary said,
“My soul magnifies the Lord,
47   and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant.
Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed;
49 for the Mighty One has done great things for me,
and holy is his name.
50 His mercy is for those who fear him
from generation to generation.
51 He has shown strength with his arm;
he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts.
52 He has brought down the powerful from their thrones,
and lifted up the lowly;
53 he has filled the hungry with good things,
and sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
in remembrance of his mercy,
55 according to the promise he made to our ancestors,
to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Prayer: Let’s pray for the Spirit to fill us to live in this overflowing hope no matter what challenges or difficulties we may face today. “Nothing is impossible with God!”

Let’s close in worship with this song “Magnificat” written by Pastor Jason Park and Pastor Timothy Rapp (To listen, Click here)

-EK

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