Day Five: Proclaim Peace!

Judges 7:17, 20-21
“Watch me,” he told them. “Follow my lead. When I get to the edge of the camp, do exactly as I do.” The three companies blew the trumpets and smashed the jars. Grasping the torches in their left hands and holding in their right hands the trumpets they were to blow, they shouted, “A sword for the Lord and for Gideon!” While each man held his position around the camp, all the Midianites ran, crying out as they fled.

When the battle finally comes we find Gideon transformed by the peace of God. He is resolute and trusts God with wholehearted devotion. But was Gideon the only one? No, there were 300 that night who obeyed. The book of Judges tells us that in the battle these men “held their positions.” This is the Lord’s people – whole and complete – living and operating in peace.

Today the Lord invites each one of us to take our place in the “300.” As those who have been transformed by the Lord’s peace, may we be his peacemakers on our campuses and in our cities. Together may we resolutely and boldly proclaim “peace!” with our words and actions, inviting those around us to experience genuine peace and relationship with the Lord.

Prayer: “Lord, together as your church may we proclaim your peace to our campuses and to our cities. Through our lives may you bring your order and wholeness to those around us. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”

Let’s worship to “Living With a Fire” by Jesus Culture.

– LL

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Day Four: Prince of Peace

Isaiah 9:6b-7
He will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of his government and peace
there will be no end.

“God’s answer to everything that has ever terrorized us is a child. His answer to the bullies swaggering through history is not to become an even bigger bully. His answer is Jesus. Look at Jesus. As the Wonderful Counselor, he has the best ideas and strategies. Let’s follow him. As the Mighty God, he defeats his enemies easily. Let’s hide behind him. As the Everlasting Father, he loves us endlessly. Let’s enjoy him. As the Prince of Peace, he reconciles us while we are still his enemies. Let’s welcome his dominion.” (Ortlund, Isaiah: God Saves Sinners)

During the time of Judges, the people lived in chaos because they had no king – “everyone did as they saw fit.” It was through God’s loving initiative that Gideon came to know “The Lord is Peace.” Today, the peace experienced by Gideon comes to us in greater measure through Jesus Christ, our “Prince of Peace.” Jesus’ victory on the cross means we have victory over any fear or chaos in our lives. Let’s welcome his rule even more!

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your victory on the cross which made a way for us to have genuine lasting peace. Today, we declare that your rule is greater than any present fears. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”

Let’s worship to “Peace Be Still” by Lauren Daigle.

– LL

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Day Three: Wholehearted

Judges 7:2-3 (NIV)
The LORD said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained.

How is peace possible when the Lord takes away, how is peace possible when we lose the very things that seemingly give us security? But true peace is about wholeness and completeness, and in this case it’s about wholeheartedness in Gideon’s life. This is the Lord revealing any last vestige of self-sufficiency and division in our hearts. Our preference is to have both “strengths” – my own strength and the Lord’s strength, but God knows division in our hearts breeds turmoil. Genuine peace is not possible when there are areas of our hearts, however small, that are reserved for ourselves, untouched and unaligned to him.

Today, if the Lord is putting us in a position where there is nothing and no one to trust except God himself, his heart is not to harm or trick us. It is an invitation to be wholehearted before the Lord where we find genuine peace in the Lord alone, where I AM is your peace.

Prayer: “Lord, may you establish wholeheartedness in us. May there be no division, no double-mindedness, no “stone” in our hearts unaligned to you. I find strength and peace in you alone. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”

Let’s worship to “You Alone Can Rescue” by Matt Redman.

-LL

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Day Two: New Order of Worship

Judges 6:25-26 (NIV)
That same night the Lord said to him, “Take the second bull from your father’s herd, the one seven years old. Tear down your father’s altar to Baal and cut down the Asherah pole beside it. Then build a proper kind of altar to the Lord your God on the top of this height.

 “Without any further delay, the program begins. Before the battle with Midian there has to be a battle with Baal. The altar that exists in Gideon’s own backyard has to come down. You cannot have an altar to Yahweh-Shalom and an altar to a false god on the same property. The Lord is a jealous God. He will not share His territory or His glory with any other.”(David Jackman, Judges & Ruth)

 Biblical peace is about wholeness, completeness, and order. As Christians, we experience peace as God brings a total reordering and realignment of our lives. It begins with worship.

There’s something very concrete and hands-on in what Gideon does to the idols. His actions are intentional and decisive. In the same way, the Lord invites us today to know his peace in concrete ways as he establishes a new order of worship in our lives – new schedule, new commitments, new priorities, new habits, and new ways of living – all of who we are in worship to him.

Prayer: “Lord, establish your new order of worship in our lives. Realign every part of us so that we can more fully worship you today on our campuses and workplaces. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”

Let’s worship to “We Praise You” by Matt Redman.

-LL

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Day One: Peace In His Presence

Judges 6:23-24 (NIV)
But the LORD said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD Is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites.

“And on that altar, he praised God for His peace—not because his situation had changed, but because God had showed up in the midst of the situation. With God, you can experience peace in any situation. Without Him, you can spend whatever you want, go wherever you want, do whatever you want…but you won’t have peace. The best you’ll get is a deflection of life’s anxieties or a diversion or distraction from them. If you want to know true well-being and wholeness despite life’s circumstances, you must be in God’s presence. In His presence, all odds change. All expectations change. All outcomes become dependent on Him and are not limited to what you can rationalize.” (Tony Evans, The Power of God’s Names)

Where does genuine peace begin? It begins in the presence of the LORD and nowhere else. As we face today’s challenges are we gripped with doubt or fear? God invites us today to be in his presence where we are assured that he is with us and working for our ultimate good in each of our circumstances.

Prayer: “Lord, we seek your presence today. We find true peace in you alone. We trust that all outcomes today are dependent on you as we follow and obey you. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.”

 

Let’s worship to “Won’t Stop Now” by Elevation Worship.

-LL

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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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