Day Five: Even though you do not see him

1 Peter 1:3, 8-9 (NIV, NLT) – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

“Unlike Peter and others of the first generation who had seen Jesus, they have neither seen him in the past not do they see him at present… Yet despite this apparent deprivation, they in no way come behind the first generation of disciples…, for they love and believe on Jesus. This paradox of faith without sight is often found in the NT, for as soon as the church expanded… it was the experience of most Christians. The really important thing is not what they can see, but whom they love and are committed to, even though they do not see him.

“[This] causes them to rejoice. The verb is present, for Peter’s point is that in the midst of outward trials we can already experience by faith and rejoice in our coming Lord.”  [Davids, Peter H. The New International Commentary on the New Testament:  The First Epistle of Peter.]

Let’s thank and praise God for the truth of this passage in our lives. Today, let’s love Jesus, believe in Him, and rejoice that we are receiving our salvation. Let’s declare the truth and worship with this song, “Who You Say I Am” (Hillsong).

– BR

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Four: One Day…

1 Corinthians 13:12-13 – For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

“It is not a distorted image that we have in Christ through the Spirit; but it is as yet indirect, not complete… Our present ‘vision’ of God, as great as it is, is as nothing when compared to the real thing that is yet to be; it is like the difference between seeing a reflected image in a mirror and seeing a person face to face.

“[Faith, hope and love] together embrace the whole of Christian existence, as believers live out the life of the Spirit in the present age, awaiting the consummation… They are on their way ‘home,’ destined for an existence in the presence of God that is ‘face to face.’  And they have ‘love’ for one another as they live this life of faith and hope in the context of a community of brothers and sisters…  In the present life of the church these three remain:  faith, hope, and love.” [Fee, Gordon. The New International Commentary on the New Testament:  The First Epistle to the Corinthians]

Let’s pray that we will live in faith, hope, and love given by the Spirit. Let’s thank God for what will come – We shall see face to face! – as we worship to this song, One Day” (Matt Redman).

– BR

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Three: You were doing it to me!

Matthew 25:31-40 (NLT) – ‘…when the Son of Man comes in his glory… he will separate the people…
The King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”
37 Then these righteous ones will reply, “Lord, when..?”
40 And the King will say, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

1 John 4:12, 20 (NIV) – No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us…If we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?

“We cannot separate our relation with God from our relation with people.  To experience the compassion of God makes one a medium of compassion…  For those in Christ the origin and recipient of every act is Christ himself.” [Snodgrass, K. Stories with Intent. p. 562]

Receive again the gravity and joy of the truth that we love our Lord Jesus by loving His people. Let’s pray for ourselves and our churches – that we would love Jesus.

Let’s worship and rely upon His love for us as we sing, “This is How We Know” (Matt Redman).

– BR

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Two – Strangers on Earth

Psalm 119:17-19, 97 (NIV)

Be good to your servant while I live,
that I may obey your word.
Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.
I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide your commands from me.
 

Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.

How can we continue and increase in loving Jesus by loving His word?

We can pray with the psalmist, “God, help me obey your word.”

We can orient our lives as strangers on earth.  When His kingdom comes in full, then we will see Jesus – actually, really see Him with our eyes!  Then, we will be fully at home, we will fully know, and be fully transformed.  Until then, we are strangers on earth.  It is not our home because we are waiting to see Jesus, our Lord.

And so we cry out, “God, open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your word, because I need to see the image of Your Son that you have for me today, so I can live in this land that is not my home.”

Today, let’s pray and commit ourselves to God’s word as the psalmist did.  Let’s also pray according to these verses for the reading, teaching, sharing, and proclamation of the word that will happen in our churches and ministries this week.

Let’s worship with this song, “Build my Life” by Housefires.

– BR

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day One: Blessed are those…

John 20:24-29 –Thomas… was not with the disciples when Jesus came…
He said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
A week later… Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Many times I have read this passage and “found myself” in it in Thomas’ shoes. I pray for, imagine, and experience, Jesus coming to me, showing Himself to me and saying, “Stop doubting and believe.”

Yet now, I see that I have been part of this passage all along in Jesus’ pronouncement – “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  This is me, this is us, this is His church in each century since these words were spoken. Jesus had us in mind at this moment, and named us blessed ones, who believe in Him without seeing.

Let’s thank God for this blessing.  Pray that our churches will abound with His presence revealed, that others may “see” the unseen Christ, believe in Him, and live this blessing with us.

– BR

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Five: And This is Love…

2 John 1.5-6 – And now, dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but one we have had from the beginning. I ask that we love one another. And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

“Once you begin to neglect obedience, one by one everything goes. It can happen to any one of us. Obedience is difficult but that’s where love comes from.

“We belong to Jesus and obedience is our strength. You must do small acts of obedience with great love… Obedience is a cross—pick up your cross and follow him. Everyone in the world has to obey in some way or another. People are forced to obey or they will lose their jobs. But we obey out of love for Jesus…

“Ask yourself: Is your love free? Is there total surrender to God in your life? Loving trust and total surrender complete each other. Jesus had unshakable trust in his Father. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus prayed: ‘Father…not my will but yours be done.’ …This trust was the fruit of Jesus’ intimate knowledge and love of the Father. Jesus trusted his whole life and his mission into the hands of his Father. That is loving trust. Do we have that trust?” [Quotes of Mother Teresa from Thirsting for God]

May we love Jesus by walking in obedience to His commands. May there be total surrender to God in our lives. Take this moment to sing, worship and pray to the Lord, to express our loving trust and total surrender to Him. Song: Close” by Hillsong Young & Free.

– JP

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Four: Love = Obedience

John 14:15 ff. –If you love me, keep my commands. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever—the Spirit of truth… Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them… Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them. Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching…

“Obedience is the most perfect act of love for God. I obey not because I am afraid, but because I love Jesus…True obedience is a genuine act of love…The more you love God the more you will obey.

“For our obedience to be cheerful and prompt, we have to be convinced that it is Jesus we obey… If you want to know whether you love God, ask yourselves the question: ‘Do I obey?’ If I obey, everything is alright… Knowledge of God, love of God, service of God—that is the end of our lives—and obedience gives us the key to it all.”

[Quotes of Mother Teresa from Total Surrender]

Let’s pray that the Lord would have His way with us. Let’s surrender totally to God as we sing and worship Him with the song, I Surrender by Hillsong.

– JP

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Three: To Pray to Christ is to Love Him

Jeremiah 29.12-14a – “Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you,” declares the LORD…

“My secret is a very simple one: I pray. To pray to Christ is to love Him…

Prayer is not asking. Prayer is putting oneself in the hands of God, at His disposition, and listening to his voice in the depths of our hearts…

I am asked what is one to do to be sure that one is following the way of salvation. I answer: ‘Love God. And, above all, pray.’” [Quotes of Mother Teresa from In My Own Words]

“God has created us to love and to be loved, and this is the beginning of prayer—to know that He loves me, that I have been created for greater things…

Love to be true has to begin with God in prayer. If we pray we will be able to love and if we love, we will be able to serve and therefore let us all promise that we will give our hearts to love them for they too have been created for greater things…

…prayer is the burning flame of God’s love for you and for me…”

[Quotes of Mother Teresa from The Joy in Loving]

Use the following prayer as a starting point to help you enter into a time of praying to Jesus:  [A prayer of Mother Teresa from A Simple Path]

“O Jesus!
Grant that You may be the object of our thoughts and affections,
The subject of our conversations,
The end of our actions
The model of our life,
Our support in death, and
Our reward eternally in Your heavenly Kingdom.
Amen”

– JP

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day Two: I Am Yours

Isaiah 43:1-5; 49:15-16a – This is what the Lord says…
“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
I have summoned you by name; you are mine.
When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you…
When you walk through the fire,

you will not be burned…
Since you are precious…in my sight,
and because I love you,
I will give people in exchange for you,

nations in exchange for your life.
Do not be afraid, for I am with you…”

[…]
“Can a mother forget her nursing child?
Can she feel no love for the child she has borne?
But even if that were possible,
I would not forget you!
See, I have written your name on the palms of my hands.”

“God is love. He loves each one of us. We read something beautiful in the Scriptures: ‘I have called you by your name, you are mine. Water will not drown you, fire will not burn you, I will give up nations for you, you are precious to me, I love you. Even if a mother could forget her child, I will not forget you. I have carved you on the palm of my hand.’ This is God speaking to you and to me, to that leper man and that alcoholic woman, to the person with a mental handicap and to the little child: ‘You are precious to me. I love you.’” [The Wisdom of Mother Teresa]

Sing and declare that you belong to God through Jesus! Song: I Belong to You.

– JP

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail

Day One: Who is Jesus to You?

John 15.9-11 (RSV) – As the Father has loved me, so I have loved you; abide in my love. If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in His love. I have said these things so that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be complete.

“Who is Jesus to me?

Jesus is the Word made flesh.
Jesus is the Bread of Life…
Jesus is the sacrifice offered…for the sins of the world and for mine…
Jesus is the truth to be told.
Jesus is the way to be walked.
Jesus is the light to be lit.
Jesus is the life to be lived,
Jesus is the love to be loved.
Jesus is the joy to be shared.
Jesus is the peace to be given…

To me: Jesus is my God…
Jesus is my life.
Jesus is my only love.
Jesus is my all in all.
Jesus is my everything.

Jesus, I love with my whole heart, with my whole being. I have given Him all, even my sins, and He has espoused me to Himself in all tenderness and love.” [Mother Teresa, No Greater Love]

As you listen to Broken Vessels,” take a moment to write down who Jesus is to you… thank Him, worship Him, express your desire to know Him and to love Him.

– JP

FacebooktwittermailFacebooktwittermail