Day Five: Christ Will Shine On You

Ephesians 5:13-14 NIV – Everything exposed by the light becomes visible—and everything that is illuminated becomes a light. This is why it is said:

“Wake up, sleeper,
rise from the dead,
and Christ will shine on you.”

Today’s passage describes what happens when we bring the numb and sleepy parts of our lives into the light – we become light! But just as important is understanding why – what is God’s motivation? God’s motivation is love. We think at times God’s agenda in making us light is just to make us “good” in the narrow moral performative sense. As if God is wagging his finger saying “hey now, you need to forgive, hey you need to be thankful, hey you need to be a ‘good‘ person.” And maybe that’s the message we hear when the Bible says “find out what pleases the Lord.” We wonder – ok that’s good for God, but is that good for me?

But that misses God’s heart. To bear good fruit is not just about being good, it is about living in God’s “good”-ness. It breaks God’s heart to see us asleep and imprisoned by bitterness and regret. It brings God pleasure to see his children free, it brings God pleasure to see his children whole. This is what “pleases” the Lord.

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, shine your light on our lives. By the power of the Holy Spirit, may we hear and heed the call to wake up, rise up, and live in the light of Christ.”

– LL

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Day Four: Life of Thanksgiving, Life of Transformation

Ephesians 5:4 NLT – Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.

“Thanksgiving is the basic attitude of the Christian, for it forces attention on God, his grace and his desires rather than on one’s own desires. When we acknowledge God and give thanks for life from him, responsibility to him is established and life is ordered away from self-centeredness and sin.
The practice of thanksgiving is itself transforming. It is difficult for a person to be thankful and spiteful at the same time. It is difficult for a person to be thankful for his or her spouse and at the same time to be desiring another person—not impossible, but difficult.”
[Klyne Snodgrass, NIVAC: Ephesians]

For Apostle Paul, “thanksgiving” serves as a catch-all description of the language, behavior, and life perspective of the Christian. Giving thanks is the daily practical alternative to living our past and is a powerful antidote to sin.

What does Snodgrass mean when he writes “the practice of thanksgiving is itself transforming”? What are practical ways we can give thanks today? What might it look like to give thanks with our lives in our workplaces and campuses?

Prayer: “Thank you Lord that today we are people of thankfulness because of what you have done on the cross. Transform us daily as we live out thankfulness in our churches and cities. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

Let’s worship to “This We Know” by Passion (Click here).

– LL

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Day Three: By the Grace of God

1 Corinthians 15:8-10 – For I am the least of the apostles. I am not worthy to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not useless. [Translation by Klyne Snodgrass]

“When Paul said, ‘By the grace of God I am what I am,’ he made the most freeing statement in all the world. This is not a statement of arrogance or distance from others. Paul is not saying, ‘This is just who I am, and leave me alone.’ It is not a statement of one who takes grace lightly or does not know the significance of Christian faith. It is a statement describing the experience of one whose life has been turned around, reordered, and given responsibility he did not deserve.”
[Klyne Snodgrass, Who God Says You Are]

We often think of God giving us grace and our role is to respond, but Paul sees it as more than that – it is God’s grace that generates the response in us. Grace is not passive, but powerfully active at work in our lives. How does this perspective of God’s grace shape our expectations and give us hope about personal healing and transformation?

Prayer: “Thank you Lord that your grace is not wimpy or ineffectual. We are free to say ‘I am what I am’ because your grace is powerfully at work in our lives. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Here I Bow” by Bethel Music (Click here).

– LL

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Day Two: You (All) Are Awake Today

Ephesians‬ ‭5:8-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬ – For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.

As those who are awake in Christ’s light we now wake up, stand up, run, and jump. We live and operate in ways that were previously unimaginable and impossible. We are no longer defined and confined by our past hurts and mistakes.

But we can hit the snooze button by holding onto bitterness, guilt, and sin. It is a habit we brought from our old life in the dark when change was impossible. So when we hear you all are adopted, powered up, and rooted, we think: “wow that sounds great, I can’t wait for that day when that’s true for me.” And we find ourselves waiting for some future time when God’s word will finally be personally true for our lives.

But this breaks God’s heart because He says today “live as children of light.” Imagine my 8-year-old son saying, “I can’t wait for that day when I’ll have a father.” This is heartbreaking because I’m ready to be his father now! So today as we hear “live as children of light,” it is an invitation to embrace who we are and be embraced by God today.

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, in the light of Christ we are light. No more hitting the snooze button. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

– LL

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Day One: Live Who You Are

Ephesians‬ ‭5:8-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬ – For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.

“The first half of the letter [of Ephesians] is completely indicative. Meaning Paul outlines truths, facts, and writes authoritative statements on who God is, what He has done, and who we are. Paul says: This is the truth about God. This is the gospel of what God has done. Then, he says this is your identity: adopted children of God, His masterpiece, His people. All of this comes before Paul writes any imperatives or commands. Identity comes first because who we are—and who we think we are—defines how we live.”
[Brad Watson, Ephesians: How Jesus Creates a New People in a New World]

Paul does not write “you are part light and part dark,” nor does he write “you are gradually more light.” What does this say about the relationship between our old past life of darkness and our new present life in the light? As Christians, what power does our past have in defining who we are?

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, thank you we are now ‘light’ in the Lord. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can and do live as children of light! In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong Worship (Click here).

– LL

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Day 5: Lord, I Need You

Psalm 63: 1, 5b (NIV)
1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
5b I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

Psalm 63 is more than just a description of one who meets God, it is a prayer. For those of us who need to personally and intimately experience God’s crazy love today, let’s pray the same words as the psalmist: “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you.”

Our whole being longs for God and that includes our lips, our vocal cords, and our breath, so let’s vocalize this prayer throughout the day. After all, we need God in the morning, we need him in the middle of the day, and we need him in the evening. In these moments of prayer, the Lord comes and we are reminded that we are loved by him, he is for us, and he is involved in our every day. His love reorders our thoughts and reshapes our day so that we can live a life-response of love to God.

In verse 5, how does the psalmist describe the experience of God’s presence? What does the verse say is the psalmist’s response?

Prayer: “God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you. I thirst and long for you Lord. I need your love to live today. May your love reorder my thoughts and reshape my day. May I live a life-response of love to you today. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Lord, I Need You” (click here) by Matt Maher.

-LL

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Day 4: Satisfied and Thirsty for More

Psalm 63: 1, 5b (NIV)
1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
5b I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

A prayer inspired by Psalm 63:
“O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace… O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me.” (A.W. Tozer, Pursuit of God)

How does this prayer from A.W. Tozer give us insight into how we can grow in love and desire for God? What happens to those who are satisfied by God?

In daily practice, we can grow in love for Jesus by taking every opportunity God offers us to pursue him. What opportunities in the church is God giving you today to grow in love for him (eg. be part of small group, serve others, participate in prayer meetings, etc)?

Prayer: Let’s pray that we would be open and ready to take the new opportunities God is calling us to pursue him. Let’s pray for a growing love for Jesus both personally and in our churches. “Lord, your love satisfies me and makes me thirst for more of you! In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”

-LL

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Day 3: An Extravagant Response

Luke 7:37-38 (NIV)
37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

“This woman no longer cared what other people thought. She was so in love with Jesus that she forgot herself completely… She proceeded to pour out her perfume, anointing her Savior’s feet with scented oil. This was an expensive gift, almost certainly the most precious thing she owned, but she poured it all on the feet of Jesus. He was the treasure of her soul.” (Ryken, Loving Jesus, p.618)

Jesus says to those that are watching this moment unfold: “I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown.” Is this woman’s extravagant act earning Jesus’ forgiveness or is it a response to Jesus’ forgiveness?

When we experience God’s extravagant love we respond with extravagant love for him. What are concrete ways we can we express our love for Jesus today? How does love for God shape how we are to serve in the church, pray, read God’s word, and care for others?

Prayer: “Thank you God for your forgiveness! May I live today in response to your extravagant love. You are the treasure of my soul. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Worthy Is Your Name” (click here) by Elevation Worship.

-LL

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Day 2: Your Love is Better Than Life

Psalm 63 (NIV)
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

“Sometimes when I come home from work, my little girl greets me by running out to the driveway and jumping into my arms before I can even get out of the car… My own love and desire for my kids’ love is so strong that it opened my eyes to how much God desires and loves us. My daughter’s expression of love for me and her desire to be with me is the most amazing thing… Through this experience, I came to understand that my desire for my children is only a faint echo of God’s great love for me and for every person He made. I am just an earthly, sinful father, and I love my kids so much it hurts. How could I not trust a heavenly, perfect Father who loves me infinitely more than I will ever love my kids?” (Francis Chan, Crazy Love)

How does the love of this dad, as imperfect as he is, give us a greater understanding of God’s intense and perfect love for us?

The word “love” in this Psalm is the Hebrew word hesed, a multifaceted term that speaks to God’s loving-kindness, goodness, unmerited favor, loyalty, and steadfast love. How do these aspects of God’s hesed love give us a fuller picture of the “love that is better than life”?

Prayer: “Thank you Lord that your love is the love of the perfect Father. Today I will live confidently in your love as I face the challenges of school, work, and life. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Jesus Only You” (click here) by Martin Smith.

-LL

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Day 1: More Than the Air I Breathe

Psalm 84:2 (NIV)
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.

“Have you ever been under water for a period of time that is longer than you had expected? You know, as the time ticks away, how desperate you become to reach the surface and breathe the air. The greater the time you are under water, the more you long for a breath of air until that desire overwhelms you, and you rush to get to the surface as rapidly as possible. You have no other thoughts but quenching your need for air. That is what it means to long for God, to feel unfulfilled without Him.”
(Billy Graham, Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening)

The experience of meeting God and “breathing” his presence shows us what it’s like to live and breathe fully as Christians. We realize “Oh, this is normal! This is real living!” That experience of “breathing” teaches us the best place to be is to be with God.

In what ways do we get distracted and neglect our urgent need for the Lord’s presence? What are practical ways we can seek God today and be satisfied in him?

Prayer: “Lord, may I seek you and be satisfied in you today. There is no One else that I need and want. Thank you for your presence in my life and in our church. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”

-LL

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