Romans 8:1-2, 11 NIV 1 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.
11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.
Every new season of recommitment begins with a new commitment to worship and obedience that is required for this time and place in our lives. Literally translated, we could read Romans 12:11 something like, “in earnest commitment / eagerness / diligence / willingness / zeal” not in “holding back / hesitation / reluctance”; but in the Spirit “boiling / on fire,” serving/being enslaved for the Lord.”
Every moment of recommitment begins with worship, where we encounter the Lord and recognize what his will is in our lives. As we worship, the Lord reveals places of hesitation, fear or shirking back from serving and living for him, which are part of the “old self” we are to throw off. Instead, we are to be “boiling” in the Spirit, to be servants of the Lord!
Let’s close in praying today, “Lord, today, I throw off all hesitation and reluctance, and ask that you would fill me with the Holy Spirit to boil over for you! In Jesus’ name, Amen.“
Let’s close by singing, “More To Come” by Passion (click here).
Psalm 1:1-3 NIV 1 Blessed is the one
who does not walk in step with the wicked
or stand in the way that sinners take
or sit in the company of mockers, 2 but whose delight is in the law of the Lord,
and who meditates on his law day and night. 3 That person is like a tree planted by streams of water,
which yields its fruit in season
and whose leaf does not wither—
whatever they do prospers.
Today, as we celebrate Thanksgiving, we remember the abundance of the Lord in our lives this past year. We also turn our hearts forward in worship, anticipating the Advent of Jesus, and beyond. As we are reminded in Joshua 24, no matter the season, the Lord is the one who personally directs and blesses our lives. As Psalm 1 also attests, when we “plant” ourselves in the ways of the Lord, there is overflowing abundance, blessing, nourishment and growth. “Whatever they do prospers.” What a promise our Father invites us into!
Today, let’s pray for our families, our churches and our ministries accordingly: “Lord, you are the source of all life. Today, we take delight in you! We ask for the blessing of your abundance in our families, churches and ministries in this season. In Jesus’ name, Amen.“
Let’s close by singing, “10,000 Reasons” by Matt Redman (click here).
Let’s read aloud together from Ephesians 4:20-24 (NIV) and Colossians 3:12-14.
Ephesians 4:20-24 NIV 20 That, however, is not the way of life you learned 21 when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. 22 You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23 to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24 and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
Colossians 3:12-14 NIV 12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.
Pray this prayer aloud: “Father, thank you that my old self has been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. Today, I put on the new self, created to be like Jesus in every facet of my life, to be changed and renewed by the Spirit who empowers me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.“
Let’s close by singing, “Jesus Is Alive” by Sinach (click here).
Joshua 24:13-14, 15b NIV 13 So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.’ 14 “Now fear the Lord and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. 15 …But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”
“The question at hand: What does it mean to fear the Lord now, in this moment, after the many seasons in our lives, and in our context? We cannot rely on the ways we feared the Lord in seasons of the past. We need something ‘now’ in our hearts that expresses our worship and service to God.”
“Another way of translating ‘now’ is ‘this day,’ which leads us to a daily choice. What does it mean to fear and serve the Lord in this season? This was the same question for Israel – they couldn’t act like they were slaves any longer, they couldn’t act like they were still wandering in the desert. They couldn’t act like they were on the other side of the Red Sea still. They were called to fear and serve the Lord in this moment.” – [paraphrased from P. Nate’s message.]
Let’s pray together, “Father, I come before you again this day, bringing you my life as a living sacrifice. In Jesus’ name. Amen. “
Let’s close by singing, “The Lord Our God” by Passion (click here).
Joshua 24:2-3 NIV 2 Joshua said to all the people, “This is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Long ago your ancestors, including Terah the father of Abraham and Nahor, lived beyond the Euphrates River and worshiped other gods. 3 But I took your father Abraham from the land beyond the Euphrates and led him throughout Canaan and gave him many descendants…
“Indeed, to read verses 2-13 is to be overwhelmed by statements of God’s action on Israel’s behalf: ‘I took,’ ‘I gave,’ ‘I sent,’ ‘I brought out,’ ‘I handed over,’ ‘I rescued,’ ‘I gave.’ This emphasis on the Lord’s initiative in forming Israel provides the foundation for the larger argument that it would be foolish to worship other gods, since this God is completely responsible for Israel’s existence. Verses 2-13 provide a powerful prelude to the charge that follows, ‘[C]hoose this day whom you will serve’ (v. 15).” – Jerome F. D. Creach (Joshua: Interpretation Commentary)
God’s retelling of Israel’s (and our own!) history in Joshua 24:2 begins, “Long ago…” As Ephesians 1:4 puts it in wonderfully familiar terms to us, “before the creation of the world.” Today, we can respond in worship, obedience and praise to God who has rescued us out of darkness, into the kingdom of the Son he loves (Col. 1:12-14)!
Let’s give thanks in prayer today by praying, “Father, thank you for including me in your family from before the creation of the world! In Jesus’ name, Amen.“
Let’s close by singing, “Forevermore” by Jesus Culture (click here).
John 17:24-26 NIV 24 “Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world.
25 “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. 26 I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”
“By the end of [John] chapter 17 we know that this love of God for the world comprises the whole movement of God’s love that begins in the mutual loving communion of the Father and the Son, entails the Son’s mission to include humans in that divine love, creates the loving community of disciples of Jesus, and thereby reaches the world. Disciples are not explicitly told to love the world, but they are caught up in that movement of God’s love that has nothing less than the world as its goal.” [Gospel of Glory by Richard Bauckham, p. 41]
The community of God’s people is formed in the unity and mission of the Triune God. Jesus makes it clear that the Father desires to pour his love into the church in such a way that the world will recognize the divine presence in the church.
Today, let’s pray, “Lord, pour your love over your church today. May your love also pour into my life so that others may see you at work in me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Today, let’s worship the Lord by singing “This Is How We Know” by Matt Redman (click here).
Let’s read aloud the following passages and prayer together.
1 John 1:1-7 NIV 1 That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked at and our hands have touched—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have seen it and testify to it, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you what we have seen and heard, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 We write this to make our joy complete.
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
Prayer: Lord, thank you for your precious promises that lead us into fellowship with Jesus! We declare that you are the true light in our lives. Lead us to walk in your light, to enjoy true fellowship as your people. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Today, let’s worship the Lord by singing “This Is Our God” by Hillsong (click here).
John 17:22-23 NIV 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— 23 I in them and you in me, that they may become completely one, so that the world may know that you have sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.
Remarkably, Jesus prays that the church would be “completely one” (NRSV) or brought to “complete unity” (NIV). In contrast to any worldly image of unity, Jesus’ prayer speaks of a deeper “oneness” that is rooted within the Trinitarian relations of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We are to be “one” just as the Father and Son are “one” (v. 22). Jesus prays that we would be “completely one” – as fellow participants within the people of God, in relationship with the Father and the Son.
The math is simple: if the way we approach one another is based on any other reality than “being-in-the-Lord” (e.g., socio-economic, demographic, ethnic, racial, academic, professional), we become “two” rather than “one”! We are called to be “one” in Jesus as God’s church, and we are called to be examples of God’s unconditional love to the world around us.
Today, let’s pray, “Lord, bring me into the unity of your love today. May I see others in light of the love that has been poured out from the Father through the Son into your church. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Today, let’s worship the Lord by singing “Old for New” by Bethel Music (click here).
1 Corinthians 10:16 NIV 16 Is not the cup of thanksgiving for which we give thanks a participation in the blood of Christ? And is not the bread that we break a participation in the body of Christ?
2 Peter 1:3-4 NIV 4 Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
“Koinonia” (in Greek – κοινωνία) is often translated as “fellowship” or “participation” and describes the supernatural “relationship” we now share in Christ Jesus, through the love of God, in the working of the Spirit. “In God we relate” is not a simple slogan, or a catchphrase—it is a change of reality from natural relationship, to a supernatural identity change. As one commentator puts it: “This fellowship with Christ comes about through the creative intervention of God. It happens through the transformation of human beings to the very roots of their being. It is birth into a new existence and can be expressed by the contrast of life and death” (“Koinonia,” New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis).
What an amazing blessing that we have been invited into participation in the body of Christ! Let’s pray, “Lord, lead me into true fellowship in you today. Lead me into true fellowship in the body of Christ where you have called me. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Today, let’s worship the Lord by singing “This I Believe” by Hillsong (click here).
2 Corinthians 13:14 NIV May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
John 17:20-21a NIV 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you.
The overall perspective of the painting is distorted, so that the three figures are prominent and not in the expected scale from the observer’s point of view. Instead, the observer is immediately drawn into the scene. We as God’s church are drawn into the life of the Trinity; we are not simply observers imposing our perspective. Instead, we are drawn into relationship and participation through the Father’s will (represented by the figure on the left), according to the life, death and resurrection of the Son (represented by the central figure), in the power of the Spirit (represented by the figure on the right).
Today, may the Spirit awaken our desire to “be in” the Lord, as Jesus prayed for us in John 17:21. Let’s pray, “Father, lead me into your presence today, that my life would be lived in the Lord at each step. In Jesus’ name. Amen.“
Let’s close by singing, “The Awesome God You Are” by Matt Redman (click here).