Day Five: Loving God Totally

2 Corinthians 5:9-10
9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.

“But even prior to that task is the aim and focus of all our emotions and actions toward God. We must make it our ambition to bring glory to God, and that glory will only come when we seek to honor him as Lord in every aspect of our lives. What is true of all men and women is especially or doubly true for the Christian ministry. We must make it our aim to please him (cf. 2 Cor. 5:9), and that is what Malachi 2:2 also urges as the aim of all ministry. Thus the concern for the glory of God and the Word of God lead off in Malachi 2. Anything less than a full-hearted response to the honor, reputation, and status of the living God and the truth taught in his Word is a type of moral pollution. It is a substitution of something ephemeral, transitory, unsatisfying, and spiritually empty of nutritional value for something abiding, substantial, and nourishing to the total being of individuals. This text, then, calls for four new affections if we are to respond adequately to the Lord whose ringing declaration of his persistent love for us continues to resound from the opening of the Book of Malachi, ‘I have loved you,’ says the Lord.” (W. Kaiser)

Prayer: Lord we ask for new affections that reflect your sovereign love over us. May it be evidenced in our church, in our homes, and in our ministries. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s worship to the song “Living with a fire” by Jesus Culture (click here).

-GK

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Day Four: Seek First

Matthew 6:32-33 NLT
32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. 33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.

“Accordingly, each of these four affections signals a call to the priesthood (as well as to the laity) for a whole new quality of life. With deft accuracy and penetrating incisiveness, the illness of the people of God and the society of that day were laid at the feet of an anemic ministry that chose to trifle first with God’s glory, then his word and his congregation, and finally with their marital relationships… A complete and total love for the living God will evidence itself in seeking first the glory of God. It will exhaust every ounce of energy to teach only what is true and faithful from the Word. It will enjoy God’s people and seek to build them up, and it will make every effort to preserve faithfully that covenant made with the wife of one’s youth to which God was a witness.” (W. Kaiser)

Prayer: Lord, we ask that our minds and hearts will be dominated with the seeking of your kingdom first. May your kingdom and your will be done in our lives this week. In Jesus’ name. Amen

Let’s worship to the song “Seek First” by Housefires (click here).

-GK

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Day Three: Love for God’s people

Malachi 2:10–11 NIV
10 Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?
11 Judah has been unfaithful. A detestable thing has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem: Judah has desecrated the sanctuary the Lord loves by marrying women who worship a foreign god.

“So a call is issued for a new loyalty and love for the whole people of God, Israel—his body of believers—and we must be reminded of our common origin and rebuked for our disloyalty one to another. God’s fatherhood is not related to the whole of creation or to the whole world, but only to his creating the one people of God… and they had also neglected their fraternal ties one to another. Forgetting that what hurt one of them hurt all the body, they began to join themselves in marriage to heathen women or to put away by divorce their own wives in defiance of their obligations to one another, to the body, and to the covenant marriage to which God was a witness?” (W. Kaiser)

In this passage, the word “unfaithful” is used in the context of the church community. The message in Malachi places much importance and covenantal understanding on how we are to be faithful to one another in the way we live, pray, worship, and engage the world. This gives the reality that one does not worship alone for themselves alone. Rather, each time we worship, even privately, it affects and influences the whole body.

Prayer: Lord we ask for the empowering to love one another with the affections of Christ. We pray for a renewed commitment to pray for one another. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s worship to the song “Old For New” by Bethel (click here).

-GK

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Day Two: Love for God’s glory

Malachi 2:1–2 NIV
“And now, you priests, this warning is for you. 2 If you do not listen, and if you do not resolve to honor my name,” says the Lord Almighty, “I will send a curse on you, and I will curse your blessings. Yes, I have already cursed them, because you have not resolved to honor me.”

In these verses, the Lord gives a warning to the priests in regard to honoring the name of the Lord. The understanding of “priests” in the NT context would include all Christians, as we are called according to 1 Peter 2:9 (NIV) “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” Hence, as the priesthood of all believers, it is the warning/exhortation for us all to resolve to honor the name of the Lord.

“…God’s name is serious business, and nothing pollutes it more than the misconduct of those whose business is to honor it. But our God loves us so faithfully that when we refuse to be taught by precept, he will continue by that same love to pursue us by penalty until we are driven back to his loving embrace once again.” (W. Kaiser)

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, help us to honor your holy name as you empower us to love your kingdom and your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s worship to the song “Where would we be” by Matt Redman (click here).

-GK

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Day One: Feasting on God’s love.

Let’s read aloud together the following Scripture and prayer:

Ephesians 3:16-19 (NLT)
16 I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit. 17 Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. 18 And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. 19 May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.

1 John 4:7-12 (NIV)
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 12 No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we receive and feast upon your supernatural love today. We ask that your supernatural love will affect and overflow in every area of our lives. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s worship to the song “With Everything” by Hillsong (click here).

-GK

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Day Five: Holy and Pleasing to God

Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

God moves worship beyond simply a practice or momentary act and moves it into the realm of our existence – our life, who we are, and therefore what we will naturally do. More than an act of offering, our whole lives become the act of worship.

In authentic worship we offer up our body, our whole life for the glory of God to be known in and through us. We also offer up our finances, resources, and time to the Lord as a spiritual sacrifice. We offer up our praise to the Lord.

“I have loved you” says the Lord speaks louder and further than we can fathom as we lovingly live in authentic worship of our Lord. By God’s grace, may we offer authentic and meaningful worship continually to the only One who is worthy of all honor and glory and praise, even among all the nations.

Prayer: Dear Lord, in view of your mercy, we offer our bodies as a living sacrifice this weekend. May our worship be holy and pleasing to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship singing to “I Surrender” by Hillsong. (Click Here)

– TR

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Day Four: Glimpse of the Greatness of God

Malachi 1:11 (NIV)“My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets…” says the LORD Almighty.

2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV)“And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

“When you get a glimpse of the greatness of God, when you gain a proper perspective of who Christ is and what Christ has done for you, you’ll never again play games with God. When we see Christ as the image of God, clearly presented to us as worthy of worship and praise, we must respond with loving worship and heartfelt obedience. And because of Christ, we are able to offer these sacrifices from a pure heart.” [Fries, Rummage, & Gallaty in “Exalting Jesus in…Malachi”]

All of me. In Christ. As wholehearted reverence for God’s majesty & greatness, lived as our whole-life response to his unfailing love, the “I have loved you” love. As we seek to live authentically in worship, together as his church loving God and loving others, this is how God’s name becomes great among the nations…beyond the borders of just us.

Prayer: Lord, open the eyes of our hearts to get a glimpse of your greatness day in and day out. And transform us to be the church that images you in every way. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship singing to “Glory To Glory” by Worship Central. (Click Here)

– TR

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Day Three: God Presented Jesus

Malachi 1:10-11 (NIV)“Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from your hands. 11 My name will be great among the nations, from where the sun rises to where it sets…” says the LORD Almighty.

Romans 3:24-25 (NLT)“Yet God, in his grace, freely makes us right in his sight. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood.”

The way God shut the doors to the fake, careless and inauthentic worship of irreverence and exchange was to – figuratively speaking – shut the doors on his very own son Jesus so that in him and through him the doors into God’s presence – into his glorious love and greatness would be opened to all. Not only would Jesus fulfill the perfect act of worship and sacrifice, but he would do it for all who would believe in him. In Christ we receive new and authentic worship unto the Lord.

Prayer: Lord, we thank you for all that Jesus did for us on the cross so that we can be right with you and worship you in Spirit and in truth. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship singing to “Behold (Then Sings My Soul)” by Hillsong. (Click Here)

– TR

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Day Two: Let There Be Wonder

Malachi 1:6 (NIV/NLT)“A son honors his father, and a servant respects his master. If I am your father and master, where are the honor and respect I deserve?” says the LORD Almighty.
“It is you priests who show contempt for my name.
“But you ask, ‘How have we shown contempt for your name?’

Noting the connection with Malachi 1:1-5: “…the prophet then moved to point out why that divine love was unable to demonstrate itself fully. It was sheer indifference, carelessness, and half-heartedness, primarily on the part of the spiritual leadership, and then among the people at large, that blocked the full effects of the people’s privileged position and election from showing through in God’s love.”

“In direct proportion to which mortals grasp the greatness of the person, character, and attributes of God (- his name), to that degree will their own inadequacies, falseness, and diluted worship take on credibility, substance, acceptance, and posture.” [Walter Kaiser, Malachi: God’s Unchanging Love]

Simply put, if God is not supreme in my heart, he is not supreme in my life, and that is what will be reflected or enacted through me. May God be supreme in our hearts this week.

Prayer: Our Father in heaven, where there is indifference toward you in our worship, revive us with passion for your holy name. Where there is carelessness in our worship, empower us with authenticity and sincere love for your name’s sake. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship singing to “Let There Be Wonder” by Matt Redman. (Click Here)

– TR

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Day One: Authentic Worship

Let’s read aloud together the following Scripture, confession, and prayer:

Romans 12:1-2 (NIV)
Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Manila Manifesto – The Local Church
Every Christian congregation is a local expression of the body of Christ and has the same responsibilities. It is both “a holy priesthood” to offer God the spiritual sacrifices of worship and “a holy nation” to spread abroad his excellences in witness. The church is thus both a worshipping and a witnessing community gathered and scattered, called and sent. Worship and witness are inseparable.

The church is intended by God to be a sign of his kingdom, that is, an indication of what human community looks like when it comes under his rule of righteousness and peace. As with individuals, so with churches, the gospel has to be embodied if it is to be communicated effectively.

Prayer: Lord, we thank you for the mercy we have received through Jesus – the perfect sacrifice, so that we can come and worship you with authentic hearts. May our worship be pleasing to you this week. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship singing to “There’s Nothing That Our God Can’t Do” by Passion (click here).

– TR

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