Day Five: Be Strengthened Everyday!

Romans 8:38-39 (NIV) – For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Ephesians 6:17 (NIV) – Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.

“God’s salvation is the ultimate assurance of protection. From the treatment of salvation earlier in the letter, this salvation is both present and future.” – [Klyne Snodgrass, Ephesians NIVAC, p. 343].

Paul is telling the church of Ephesus, and us, to take up – that is, to receive as gift again – salvation. It is not that we haven’t already experienced God’s rescue, but salvation is a gift held out by God again and again, fresh each day. He holds out his rescue, his love, his forgiveness for us to pursue and experience, as we hear the Lord daily sing in his delight over us.

Today, let’s turn away from other ways of living, or putting our trust in other things, and instead, turn to the Lord and receive his gift of salvation again. As we do this, let’s worship to the song, “Thank You Song” by Upperroom.

Prayer: Lord, I turn from other ways of trust and living and I turn to you Lord. Thank you for your song over me that strengthens and keeps me in your salvation. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

– LB

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Day Four: Peaceful Readiness

Ephesians 6:14-15 (NIV) – Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace.

“We seek a carefree life. It does not exist. Our conceptions of life and especially of retirement must change. Life’s goal is not on ‘golden pond,’ and Christians are not called to tranquility. We are called to peace, yes, but peace in the midst of struggle. This peace does not render us inactive; it makes us ready to do God’s will.” [Klyne Snodgrass, Ephesians NIVAC, p. 354]

Peace is not about running away. Instead, we are called to be ready to stand firm in the gospel, no matter the circumstances. We find that when we live “ready,” peace meets us in the storms through the Spirit’s presence, guarding our hearts and minds as we worship, pray and seek the Lord. We also find that as God’s peace equips us to overflow with God’s peace to the people around us, especially in our homes and those closest to us.

Prayer: Jesus, we call out to you, for you are our deliverer and perfect peace in the midst of the storm. Ready us to pursue your will in our lives today. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

– LB

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Day Three: Stand Firm

1 John 4:16b, 18 (NIV) – God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Ephesians 6:13 (NIV) – Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand.

This “stand” mentioned three times in Ephesians 6:10-14 is plural. We are to live clothed with the full armor of God so that we can stand firm together as God’s people in the gospel, praying for our world, and those around us at this time. We experience this again and again in our churches, fighting and standing together, praying for breakthrough for our families, our children for VBS, or for the college students, or for those going to Set Free. As we pray, let us be ready with the gospel and stand firm, and even after all that, to stand.

Let’s pray for our virtual meeting times this week praying for one another so that we would be ready to stand together. As we pray, let’s also worship to the song “Surrounded ( Fight My Battles )” by Upperroom. May this be how “we” fight our battles!

Prayer: Jesus, we lift up our families, our ministries, and our churches to you. Equip us together to be ready with the gospel as we meet this week. In Jesus’ name I pray, Amen.

– LB

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Day Two: Put on what you already got! #OOTD

Isaiah 52:7
How beautiful on the mountains
are the feet of those who bring good news,
who proclaim peace,
who bring good tidings,
who proclaim salvation,
who say to Zion,
“Your God reigns!”

The armor we are to put on is what God has done and has equipped us with already:

(1) The belt of truth buckled around our waist. We have received truth about who God is, of his power to save, who we are as his children, and who we are as his church. We are to put it tightly around our waist everyday living in it and speaking it to others in love.

(2) We are to be equipped with readiness of the gospel of peace. We are ready to carry the good news of the gospel that has brought us peace to wherever we are going, whether right down the hall in our homes, or as we step outside.

This is the armor of God that we have as God’s people to put on every single day. It is not just defensively equipped, but offensively readied upon us.

Prayer: Thank you for the truth that you have made known to us through Jesus Christ, that we have been saved and we belong to you. May this peace we have received overflow from our lives into this broken world that needs your peace so badly. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Day One: We are Strong only in the Lord, the Lord is Strong

Zephaniah 3:17
The Lord your God is with you,
the Mighty Warrior who saves.
He will take great delight in you;
in his love he will no longer rebuke you,
but will rejoice over you with singing.”

“The Lord is strong, he has given us his mighty power. He is a warrior, God and King, and has worked righteousness and salvation himself for his people. He is victorious, mighty to save, full of love and delight, and fully able to rescue us. This is the warrior Paul had in mind. He rescued us not in the way we would have imagined. He has conquered death, sin, and the bondage in our lives through his work on the cross. It is in this warrior God that we receive our armor.” [paraphrased from Brenda’s message]

We are strong only in the Lord. This is the full armor we have received and can put on every day to stand firm. As we declare this, let’s worship to, “Exalted Over All by Vertical Worship.

Prayer:  Lord, you are our Mighty Warrior who saves! You are strong and mighty to rescue us and we are victorious because of what you have done on the cross for us.  You alone are worthy! In Jesus’ name, Amen.

– LB

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Day Five: Obvious Love

Psalm 119:1-8 (NIV)

Blessed are those whose ways are blameless,
   who walk according to the law of the Lord.
Blessed are those who keep his statutes
   and seek him with all their heart—
they do no wrong
   but follow his ways.
You have laid down precepts
   that are to be fully obeyed.
Oh, that my ways were steadfast
   in obeying your decrees!
Then I would not be put to shame
   when I consider all your commands.
I will praise you with an upright heart
   as I learn your righteous laws.
I will obey your decrees;
   do not utterly forsake me.

“In each case, there is a clear connection between keeping the commands of Christ and showing affection to Christ, between loving and obeying Jesus. By repeating himself so many times, Jesus added triple exclamation marks to this principle. This helps to ensure that we do not miss what he is saying: one of the best ways for us to show our love for Jesus is simply to do what he says.” [Ryken, Philip Graham. Loving Jesus More (Kindle Locations 777-780). Crossway. Kindle Edition.]

Love is found in action; it’s that simple! Love is not love until it is demonstrated. We can show our love for Jesus, by simply doing what God has said. In Psalm 119:1-8, the psalmist expresses his desire to be steadfast in obedience to God. Spend some time praying through these verses likewise, that we would also be steadfast in obeying the ways of the Lord.

– LB

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Day Four: Paul Insists!

Inˈsist/– verb – demand something forcefully, not accepting refusal.

Titus 3:8,14 (NLT) – This is a trustworthy saying, and I want you to insist on these teachings so that all who trust in God will devote themselves to doing good. These teachings are good and beneficial for everyone.
Our people must learn to do good by meeting the urgent needs of others; then they will not be unproductive.

Titus is a very interesting letter, in that Cretans had quite the reputation of being lazy gluttons. But Paul is calling for a counter cultural approach. The display of love for Jesus is the doing of good that is entirely “not normal” to their context, and there is an aspect of urging, an insistence (3:8). This will be beneficial to the church and for the people of God to become productive, in contrast to their current culture (3:14). Our M.O. as Christians is to live in the calling of the people of God according to what is “normal” in God’s kingdom. Paul insists and demands we live this way, and no other way.

Today, may your faith grow, as we trust in God, and devote ourselves to doing good, building one another up. As you pray, worship with this song “Your Love is Strong” (click here) written by Jon Foreman, for His love is strong, and He knows what we need to live as his people.

– LB

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Day Three: Eat Last

Galatians 6:8-10 (NIV) – Whoever sows to please their flesh, from the flesh will reap destruction; whoever sows to please the Spirit, from the Spirit will reap eternal life. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.

Walking by the Spirit, life in the Spirit is doing good; a harvest of eternal life comes by the Spirit, these two are inseparable. Life in the Spirit not necessarily “feel good” moments, but don’t let it stop you from doing good. As Pastor Mark shared the example from Sunday – in learning to be a servant leader and allowing others to be served first – eating last may be painful, but do not lose heart! Don’t let it stop you from serving others as we are living for the kingdom!

Let us pray, “Lord, lead us more in doing good, so it can flow out of me to others. Thank you that your Spirit lives in me and I can love you like this with my actions and my lips.”

– LB

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Day Two: Demonstration of Love

“I will build my life upon Your love
It is a firm foundation
I will put my trust in You alone
And I will not be shaken”

These lyrics from the song “Build My Life” speak of the ultimate demonstration of love, which is shown in Romans 5:8, But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” This is the same love that flows through our veins, that we can live upon and trust in, and not be shaken by anything we face in this world.

Today, let’s pray and worship to Build My Life” (Click hereas you believe and build your life on Jesus’ love!

– LB

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Day One: Just do it!

James 1:22-25 (NIV)– Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.

“But Jesus calls us to receive this grace by exercising faith — by making behavioral demands on us. He does this because (1) our behaviors are the external demonstrations of our true internal desires, and (2) our behaviors themselves become a means of sanctifying grace. ‘If you know these things, blessed are you if you do them’ (John 13:17). Holy habits actually work to deepen our beliefs, increase our affections, and intensify our desires. Do what Jesus says. Do whatever it takes to want what’s right. And then, with that new heart, do what you want.” [Bloom, Jon. “Passive Christianity is a dead Christianity.” www.desiringgod.org]

As we see in James and the article above, action and blessing are inseparable fruit of the Christian who remembers what “they look like.” Today, let us pray and receive afresh faith in line as those who have been loved by Jesus. Let this prayer lead you to exercise faith in action to love Jesus today, for you will be blessed!

– LB

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