Day Five: Upside Up-In Faith

Mark 5

37 Then Jesus stopped the crowd and wouldn’t let anyone go with him except Peter, James, and John (the brother of James). 38 When they came to the home of the synagogue leader, Jesus saw much commotion and weeping and wailing. 39 He went inside and asked, “Why all this commotion and weeping? The child isn’t dead; she’s only asleep.”

40 The crowd laughed at him. But he made them all leave, and he took the girl’s father and mother and his three disciples into the room where the girl was lying. 41 Holding her hand, he said to her, “Talitha koum,” which means “Little girl, get up!” 42 And the girl, who was twelve years old, immediately stood up and walked around! They were overwhelmed and totally amazed. 43 Jesus gave them strict orders not to tell anyone what had happened, and then he told them to give her something to eat.

Don’t you find it strange that Jesus says, “she’s only asleep?” The professional mourners that one would hire in that time and that culture have already arrived and they are doing their thing. In other words, they are convinced she is not just mostly dead, she’s completely dead. But Jesus kicks out everyone except the mother, father, and his closest disciples.

Jesus holds her by the hand and says a term of endearment, “Little girl, get up!” His words and actions are not only powerful, but they are also loving. It’s what a mother would say to her child on a sunny morning. Honey, it’s time to get up. And she does! Jesus is face to faceT with death, but if He has your hand death itself is nothing but sleep to Him. Such is His power and authority. But we only get to enter into the Upside Up and experience this through faith.

In times of crises in our lives, may we hear Jesus saying to us through the Holy Spirit, Don’t be afraid. Just have faith.”

 May we enter into God’s healing presence through faith. One thing is certain. The crowd was excluded from the room because of their lack of faith and they missed out on witnessing this amazing miracle – the first person in Jesus’ ministry raised from the dead – which is a foreshadow of the cross and His power and victory over sin and death itself. . [P. Cory Ricks, Upside UP Fall College Conference, 2018].

Today let’s pray as we enter into God’s very presence in prayer and worship in faith! Worship with the song (click here) ‘Raised to Life’.

-GK

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Day Four: Upside Up-Made Whole

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.

Salvation is connected with the healing of the whole person. The emphasis is on the spiritual healing of being forgiven and reconciled with God. This connection is also often made by Jesus as he often both forgives the person’s sin and physically heals them. From this spiritual healing flows the beginning of wholeness in all areas of our lives that will come to fruition in all its fullness in the new creation where there will be no more sin, death, pain or tears.

Today, look to the Lord. Trust in the One who took our place. Look to the one who carries our burdens and took the guilt of our sin and shame away. As we look to what Jesus did on the cross, may the bitter areas of our lives become sweet. May the broken areas become whole. May the hurt give way to greater and greater healing. Today, may we meet the God who heals. By His wounds we are healed. [P. Cory Ricks, Upside UP Fall College Conference, 2018].

-GK

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Day Three: Upside Up-Through Christ.

Isaiah 53:4-6 (NLT) Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrows that weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! 5 But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He was whipped so we could be healed. 6 All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.

Our rebellion has to do with our outright, knowingly and deliberately going against God, His word, His will, and His plan for our lives. And the result is that sin mars everything that we do. There are very real consequences of this broken relationship with God. We wish for more than we are able to achieve, so that the “good life” is always eluding us, we long to be truly happy but we are constantly weighed down by sorrow in whatever form it may come, disappointments, grieving a loss, tragedy, whatever. But he made our burdens his own. Jesus acted as our substitute on the cross. He did not merely suffer as a result of our sins, but he suffers in our place as well. He took our place. He did not suffer for his own sins or failings. No, he took our sins, our weaknesses, our moral failures, and our greatest need upon himself on the cross.

All of this brings about our healing. Verse 5 is literally translated : in his wounds it is healed to us. Jesus has brought about through his suffering what we cannot bring about ourselves. Isaiah uses healing in a total sense. It is the healing of the whole person, restoring fulness and bringing about completeness to that which was broken. [P. Cory Ricks, Upside UP Fall College Conference, 2018].

Today, let’s pray and receive and live into this complete healing that Jesus has made possible for us. Also, spend time in worship with the song (click here) ‘Anthem’.

-GK

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Day Two: Upside up-The Lord who heals you

Exodus 15.26-27 (NIV)
26 He said, “If you listen carefully to the Lord your God and do what is right in his eyes, if you pay attention to his commands and keep all his decrees, I will not bring on you any of the diseases I brought on the Egyptians, for I am the Lord, who heals you.

This is God’s promise to His people, that if we live as his people and walk in his ways, we will know and experience that He is YHWH, the God of the covenant relationship, the God who heals us. Our lives go from Upside Down to Upside Up as we walk in relationship with the God who heals us.

Ultimately, God the Father is at work in Christ to turn the world upside up – to renew, heal, and restore. His desire is that we have “whole” lives. In Christ, God is at work healing, renewing, and restoring the “whole” of our lives (spiritually, emotionally, physically and relationally). The fullness of this will come when we receive our new resurrection bodies in the new creation (the new heavens and the new earth), but as we see in Scripture there are times when God gives a foretaste of the perfect healing that will be ours for eternity. We see this repeatedly through the power of Jesus’ ministry, the ministry of the disciples and the early church in the New Testament. [P. Cory Ricks, Upside UP Fall College Conference, 2018].

Today, may we know that the Lord is our healer, and pray for specific areas in our lives where we are in need of His healing touch.  Let’s go deep in worship today as we sing the song God is so good, declaring that through Christ we are healed, made whole, and saved in Jesus name!

-GK

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Day One: Upside Up-Reconciled to God

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (NIV)

As we look around today, the world is so Upside Down from what God desires for our lives. The reason why there is so much hurt, brokenness and things that shouldn’t be but are, is a direct result of the sin that mars and distorts even the good things of this world. What does it mean to live in the Upside Up? It all starts with encountering the One who invades our Upside Down world in love and power to make our lives Upside Up. Actually, in the beginning the world was right side up. The creation was good. God created man and woman is his image and it was “very good”.

God created human beings, body and soul, to experience everlasting communion with him. That relationship with Him was lost when sin entered the world. The image of God was sullied, dirtied, tarnished; we died spiritually.

This is not to say our humanity was obliterated… We are still capable of altruistic works and thoughts; we still have spiritual capacities, though on our own we always fall short of union with God and fulfilling his will. It is more accurate to say that every part of our being has been affected by sin, though not obliterated by it. These areas include our physical, psychological, emotional, intellectual, sexual, social, and, of course, spiritual functions. We are only a shadow of what God originally intended, always falling short of full communion with him.  [John Wimber, Power Healing, p.60]

Therefore our root problem is sin and our biggest need is the need for spiritual healing meaning forgiveness, reconciliation, and a restored relationship with God.  [P. Cory Ricks, Upside UP Fall College Conference, 2018].

Today, let’s pray thanking the Lord for this great salvation, for in Christ we are now reconciled to God! Worship with the song Living Hope (click here) by Phil Wickham.

-GK

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Day Five: Mission’s Flame-Love One Another

John 13
34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

He describes it as a new commandment. Love, of course, is essential in many parts of the Old Testament. The book Leviticus commanded the Israelites to love their neighbors as themselves. But the newness isn’t so much a matter of never having heard words like this before. It’s a matter of the mold of this love, the depth and type of this love: love one another in the same way that I have loved you.

It has been hard for the disciples up to this point even to appreciate what Jesus has been doing on their behalf; now he’s telling to copy him! As with the footwashing, they are to look back at his whole life, his whole way and manner of life, and find in it a pattern, an example, a power. To wash someone else’s feet, you have to think of yourself as only a slave.  That, as we saw, can feed all the wrong kind of thinking: it can produce a sort of inverted pride, a pride at one’s own humility. But with love there’s no danger of that. Love is all about the other person. It overflows into service, not in order to show off how hard-working it is, but because that is its natural form. This is the badge that the Christian community wears before the watching world.  [N.T Wright, John for Everyone, p.56]

Today, let’s pray for the harvest that is always before us, as you listen and worship with the song Mission’s Flame (click here) by Matt Redman.

-GK

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Day Four: Interdependence

1 Corinthians 12
But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it.

He envisions not just the tolerance of differences within the community but a gracious and compassionate synergy in which all the members share one another’s sorrows and joys.  Here again the body metaphor serves his hortatory purpose well; everyone knows a pain in the ankle or finger can absorb the entire body’s energy and attention. That, Paul contends, is how things are in the church. He does not speak of what should be, but of what is:  The body really is diminished and pained by the suffering of any of its members. The same principle applies also to the honor shown anyone member: the body really does celebrate it together. In view of the way Paul has spoken of giving honor to “the inferior member” in verses 23– 24, the last sentence of this unit should also be read as an implicit exhortation:  The more obviously honored members of the church should rejoice in showing honor to the less honorable. [Hays, Interpretation of 1 Corinthians, 216]

Today let’s share in one another’s joys and sorrows. Let’s pray for specific individuals within your ministry group that you sense are in need of the Spirit’s presence and healing. Listen and worship and pray with the song “I am not alone” (click here) by Kari Jobe.

-GK

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Day 3: Belonging To One Another

1 Corinthians 12
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honorable we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment.

In this section on verses 21-26, Paul uses the metaphor of one body part lessening the value of another.  Now this is a whole-body brawl going on here—where the eye now fights with the hand—and the feet and head are now going at it—saying ‘I don’t need you!’.

This was to analogize the deep issues within this church, where the Corinthians really didn’t understand nor embrace the need of one another. Some wondered what the value and purpose was for the weaker/poorer/struggling brothers and sisters. What they failed to recognize however, is that to care for one another was to care for their very body. Paul makes the point that in the body of Christ, the Spirit given wisdom is to view the lesser/weaker/hidden members as the indispensable ones, given special honor, and to be treated with special modesty. For this is our Lord’s heart—the father to the fatherless, and the defender of widows. Therefore, to not care for one another, is to be sick and not healthy as a body, and to be out of sync with God’s very heart.

Today, let’s embrace the reality that we are the body of Christ, and each member is indispensable. Spend time praying for God’s strength and covering over our churches and ministry groups.

-GK

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Day Two: Belonging by God’s design

1 Corinthians 12
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.

In verses 15-20, Paul is dealing with potential issues in the body of Christ, namely with the issue of belonging.  Paul utilizes ridiculous scenarios in verses 15-17 to make the point in verse 18, that “the body is formed by God’s own design ‘in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be’ (v18). The emphasis is upon the fact that each member is there by divine placement.” [Fee, NICNT 1 Corinthians, page 677].

Paul uses this metaphor to show how ridiculous and out of place it is to disqualify oneself because we are comparing ourselves to one another!

And the deeper reality is that just because we take ourselves out, Paul says that it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. So, it would be like the ‘ear’ disengaging and not functioning by saying—I am not as important as the eye, so I am out of here!  Yet the ear will not stop being part of the body, but it does mean that the body will suffer hearing loss. Today, let’s love the body and be fully functioning and growing members.

Let’s be encouraged to fully belong to the body of Christ, as He has made each member indispensable to the body.  Today as you worship with the song “Ready for You”(click here), pray for your ministry group.

-GK

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Day One: The Belonging Place

1 Corinthians 12
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.

In this section of chapter 12, Paul is giving the foundational reality of being the Spirit people—the Church.  Where due to “the result of that immersion in the Spirit is that all have been made one. They have come from very different ethnic and social backgrounds—Jews and Greeks, slaves and free—but they have been bonded together by the Spirit into one body. Consequently, the old markers of identity should no longer divide the community. This is a fundamental aspect of Paul’s teaching about the church” [Hays, Interpretation, page 214].

Through this section, Paul is giving a beautiful imagery of the vision of Christ’s church—of its unity within its diversity.  It is interesting to note that verse 12 ends with ‘so it is with Christ’, instead of ‘so it is with the church’.  Hays furthers this point by saying that the rendering of this verse is to emphasize that the many members of the church are to be identified directly with Christ [Hays, Interpretation, page 212]. Hence, in the life of the church, there is a new reality and kingdom life that is not based upon worldly wisdom, expectations, interactions, and divisions. Each member is connected with Christ and given gifts by the Spirit, and in this diversity, there is unity of being bound together to become one body—the church.  And in the church, there is to be a new belonging, interactions, giftings—all for the sake of becoming one in Christ.

Today spend time in prayer, thanking the Lord that we now belong to Him and to His people, as you worship with the song ‘Belong’ (click here).

-GK

 

 

 

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