Day Five: Always

1 Corinthians 13:7
[Love] “always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”

“The two verbs “believes” and “hopes” of course foreshadow the conclusion of the chapter, in which faith and hope join love as the abiding marks of Christian character. And the final verb (“endures”) creates an inclusio with the first item in verse 4 (“Love is patient”) and suggests the eschatological location of love in the present time: love persists in a hostile world, awaiting the coming of the Lord. The hyperbole of the repeated “all things” in verse 7 should not lead us to think that love is infinitely credulous and utterly indiscriminate in its believing and hoping. Love does not make its adherents into foolish Pollyannas. Paul’s point is accurately conveyed by the NEB’s translation: “there is no limit to its faith, its hope, and its endurance.” Hays, Richard B.. First Corinthians: Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching (p. 228).

Prayer: Thank you for the love that always protects, trusts, hopes and perseveres. We ask that as we are being transformed together in the church, may we be your instruments to display this love to others. May those we are reaching out to, experience this quality of love that only comes from you: the love with no limit to faith, hope and endurance. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Song: Here is a remix of the song “Beauty” (written by Jason Park) by Epaphras & Chelle. As you follow along, let’s join in asking that we would behold Him more and be transformed into the likeness of His Son. (To listen click here)

-MK

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Day Four: The Gong Show

1 Corinthians 12:31b; 13:1-3 NIV
And yet I will show you the most excellent way.

1 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

There is a remake nowadays of the popular “The Gong Show” from the 70’s where contestants perform acts (stranger the better) and if the judges were not entertained they would hit this large gong to stop the act and send them away! We don’t know what exact type of “gong” Paul had in mind when equating that sound with the practice of gifts of the Spirit without love, but one thing for certain is the expectation that he would never hear such a noise! The goal of this illustration was for the practice of edifying one another in love to continue among the people of God and never to inhibit its use. The wonderful gift of prophecy, the faith that will bring healing, and all the gifts that God gave to the church are essential in this day and age to build up so that the church can become even more the display of God’s glory and witness in our generation.

Prayer: Let’s pray that each of us in the church would grow in His love as we minister to another with the gifts that the Spirit gives. Especially, let’s continue to pray for healing over one another so that we will be built up for His service, for His glory.

Song: Here is an older song by Delirious? “Shout to the north”, (click here) let’s sing together.

-MK

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Day Three: Keep On Keeping On

1 Thessalonians 1:3 (NIV)
3 We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.

“In thanking them all for their “work produced by faith” (probably Christian service) and “labor prompted by love” (probably manual labor), Paul is thus offering genuine thanks for those among them who are doing this very thing, even though for others it will be a matter needing correction. Thus rather than thanking God for them with Christian platitudes, Paul is in fact giving thanks for things that are both at work among them and at the same time need some correcting or bolstering. Fee, Gordon D. 1 Thessalonians (NICNT) (p. 26).

Prayer: Let’s thank God for the love that the Father has poured out on our churches, that we can experience the work of faith, the labor of love and the endurance together to hope for His glory. Let’s ask the Lord for even more of these works among us! Let’s keep at it!

Song: Here’s another oldie that many in the church used to sing in the early days. Not to just bring back memories, but the heart of prayer is right on! Shine Jesus Shine, (click here) written by Graham Kendrick.

-MK

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Day Two: “Faith expressing itself through love”

Galatians 5:5-6 (NIV)
5 For through the Spirit we eagerly await by faith the righteousness for which we hope. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.

“Faith expressing itself through love” thus forges a strong link between the so-called theological section of the letter and the so-called ethical section. Paul’s argument may thus be more continuous than we have sometimes recognized: throughout the letter he focuses on the sufficiency of the Spirit and faith for the “righteousness” that counts before God. Those who are “in Christ” by faith need to live by faith, a faith that produces works of love pleasing to God through the Spirit; and it is by living in this way that people can have a sure hope of righteousness” Douglas J. Moo, Galatians, Baker, p. 331.

Prayer: let’s pray this for ourselves and for the church, that as we continue to grow in the expression of our faith through love, that the body of Christ will be built up and edified more and more.
Song: This is an old but goodie by our own rxn, Labor of Love (To listen click here)

-MK

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Day One: Behold What Manner Of Love!

1 John 3:1-3 (NKJV)
Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. 2 Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.

“This, of course, is what we already are: we are children of God, we live in the light, and we are free from sin. John does not state explicitly in what new ways we shall be like Jesus at the parousia. But we may assume that the privileges which we now enjoy in a partial manner will then be ours fully and completely. Not only so, but we may also recollect that our hope is to see Jesus in his glory and therefore our hope is to share his glory, a hope that is clearly expressed by Paul.” – Howard Marshall, The Epistles of John, NICNT, p.172.

Prayer: Let’s pray for ourselves and the church, that as we hold to the hope of glory, we will continue to grow in the love of the Father to be made more like Jesus every day.

Song: Let’s worship the Lord with this song by Matt Redman, (click here) “One Day.”

-MK

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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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