Day Four: King of kings

1 Timothy 6:13-16 – In the sight of God, who gives life to everything, and of Christ Jesus, who while testifying before Pontius Pilate made the good confession, I charge you 14 to keep this command without spot or blame until the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 which God will bring about in his own time—God, the blessed and only Ruler, the King of kings and Lord of lords, 16 who alone is immortal and who lives in unapproachable light, whom no one has seen or can see. To him be honor and might forever. Amen.

“As we wait for that day, we are not to spend our time peering into the sky wondering when Jesus will arrive. We are not to create fanciful scenarios about how Jesus will come. Instead, we are to invest our energy and time in caring for his creation, loving each other, sharing his grace, seeking justice, celebrating beauty, and living with confidence that Jesus will return one day. Until that final consummation, we live each day with a profound awareness that Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.” (N.T. Wright)

What are some practical ways in which you can invest our energy and time in caring for his creation, loving each other, sharing his grace, seeking justice, celebrating beauty?

Lord we declare that you are the King of kings, the Lord of lords. To you and you alone belongs all the honor and might. Today we pray for your strengthening and empowering in our inner beings during these times, for we live under the shelter of your wings. In Jesus’ name. Amen

– GK

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Day Three: Heaven Breaking Through

Ephesians 1:7-10 – In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, 10 to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ.

“As we learn to walk with Jesus and live as God’s people in this world, the kingdom plan of God continues to unfold and be revealed. We are not waiting to fly off to heaven one day, but heaven is breaking into our present circumstances with each passing moment…One of the ways God brings his kingdom, “on earth as it is in heaven,” is through his people. You and I are invited to be vehicles God can use to bring his love, justice, and beauty to a world desperate for all of these things. What God did for Jesus on the first Easter Day, he has promised to do for each one who is in Christ, each one indwelt by the Spirit of Christ. That is the biblical and historic Christian expectation in terms of ourselves as human beings.” (N.T. Wright)

Today let’s worship with the song ‘Come and See’ (click here) by Matt Redman as we invite His presence into our present circumstances.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xL8wI8QGunE

– GK

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Day Two: Living in Resurrection Hope

1 Corinthians 15:32 (NIV) – If I fought wild beasts in Ephesus with no more than human hopes, what have I gained? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

NT Wright describes it like this, “The point [Paul’s] making is that if he went through all that [not actually fighting wild beasts, but what he did suffer in facing opposition/persecution] in order simply to die, with no hope of resurrection, he would be just like those gladiators, eating, drinking, and making merry the night before the big show, knowing that this was the end.”

If Christ has not been raised from the dead, our lives’ meaning would simply be “eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we die.” It is interesting to note how real this must feel for us in light of what is happening in the world today. However, as Paul and the cloud of witnesses that have gone before show us, we don’t live by mere human hopes, for our hope is in Christ and His resurrection. Hence, we always live in hope, in worship, in the building of His church, and in the mission of God.

Lord Jesus, may we live in your resurrection power and reality. May there be an awakening of love for you and for one another, for praise and worship to spontaneously arise from our hearts and lips, for our hearts to be filled with compassion for the broken. May your kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

– GK

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Day One: Hope of Resurrection for Today

1 Corinthians 15.16-20 – For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. 18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. 19 If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

“The resurrection narratives in the gospels never, ever say anything like, “Jesus is raised, therefore there is a life after death,” let alone, “Jesus is raised, therefore we shall go to heaven when we die.” Nor even, in a more authentic first-century Christian way, do they say, “Jesus is raised, therefore we shall be raised from the dead after the sleep of death.” No. Insofar as the event is interpreted, Easter has a very this-worldly, present-age meaning: Jesus is raised so he is the Messiah and therefore he is the world’s true Lord; Jesus is raised, so God’s new creation has begun – and we, his followers, have a job to do! Jesus is raised, so we must act as his heralds, announcing his lordship to the entire world, making his kingdom come on each as in heaven!” (NT Wright, Surprised by Hope, p. 55)

Lord, may your kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. May we act as your heralds, announcing your lordship everywhere we are—whether it is at home, or with others. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

– GK

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Day Five: Forgiven For His Glory

Matthew 6:33 NIV – But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

Will Bishop’s Testimony:
“At the end of high school, after having lived for achievement, I was burned out and felt deeply empty inside. I prayed, ‘God, if there is someplace you are real, will you send me there?’ God sent me to one of our campus ministries. I wasn’t really open for the first two years, but after a conference my junior year, I shared with a campus leader how I struggled with feeling forgiven. I felt like something was really wrong with me, but she shared, ‘Will, I think you just need to believe.’ As we prayed, God opened my eyes to see that my thoughts about His forgiveness were just from myself, and I was choosing to believe them over Him, and He showed me a new direction of living – believing without reservation or guilt that the gospel wasn’t too good to be true, and His love and forgiveness absolutely was also for me. As I agreed, there was a sense of a huge burden that had been with me for most of my life being lifted off. After this, I had new openness to following God, including His calling to stay with the church after graduation. Though there were not many job opportunities in the area, God had changed my heart from thinking only about my plans to desiring to follow Him. As I trusted, God miraculously provided, and I was filled with the joy that comes from living for something so worthwhile.”

Jesus thank you for forgiving us and setting us free. May we now know in deeper measures the joy that comes from living a life that seeks first your kingdom and your righteousness. Amen.
Worship with the song “Forgiven” by Bethel Music & Brian Johnson (Click here).

– GK

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Day Four: The Air I Breathe

Ephesians 1:3-4 NLT – All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes.

Tim Platz’ Testimony:
“At 17 I became a father, I was married at 18 and then divorced by the time I was 21. This led me to a deep desperation to know God, as I became very depressed. Life seemed so pointless and I felt so powerless to do anything about my situation. Also, not being able to see my son everyday made me feel miserable. As a father, I wanted to be the most influential person in his life, but I could barely get my own life together. In the Spring of 2002, I was invited to our pastor’s house for a barbeque. During the time of prayer and singing, as we sang these words – ‘This is the air I breathe, Your Holy Presence living in me, This is my daily bread, Your very word spoken to me, and I’m desperate for you, I’m lost without you,’ the power of the Spirit brought those words to life. They were stronger than my depression and more truthful than my circumstances. It felt like I could breathe for the first time. Through continual powerful encounters with God and the church’s ministry, I was no longer the Tim whose life had been a series of hopeless events. But now God empowers me to live this new life that brings glory to His name.”

Our God rescues us and give us new breath to breathe. Today spend time worshipping with the song, “This Is the Air I Breathe” by Christy Nockels (Click here).

As you worship, also pray for your ministry group as you ask the Lord to breathe afresh in everyone’s life.

– GK

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Day Three: No Hyphenation!

Galatians 2:20 ESV – I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

We live in a world of hyphenation; Asian-American, African-American, Mexican-American, Indian-American, etc. What this hyphenation means is that even though someone might be a naturalized citizen, it implies that at the core of one’s identity they are still from the country of their origin—including the culture, language, preferences, and habits with which we have our ancestry in. The hyphenation speaks of a merger, instead of a completely new identity. Perhaps that is how we also view this Christian life—a merger of the old and the new: “I am a sinner with sinful identity, but who is now hyphenated with Christ—hence I am both, “Sinner-Saint.”

For many this is where the struggle lies, where at the core of our beings, we still don’t feel like we belong to Christ—for there are still areas that resemble more of the past sinful ways, than the identity of someone who belongs to Christ.

Q: In what ways do you find yourself hyphenating your life?

The message today is that in Christ, there is no hyphenation! For we’ve been crucified with Christ, and raised with Him, hence our identity is that of a saint/redeemed/child of God/new humanity—those who belong to Christ. At the core of our beings (the deepest parts of us), it is now in Christ!

Today spend time meditating upon today’s passage, declaring that you fully belong to Christ alone. Pray that you will now exude the thoughts, desires, patterns, habits, culture of the new humanity that is in Christ.

– GK

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Day Two: Fully Included!

Ephesians 2:12 – Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world.

It is one thing to be excluded from a team or from a group of people. However, it is a completely different matter to be excluded from God and His plans. Today’s passage describes that this was the state of our lives without Christ—where our exclusion included all the promises of God for salvation, rescue, and blessing that are spoken of in scripture.
That is why the passage says we were without hope and God in our lives. However, in Christ that is no longer who we are. We are now fully included in God’s plans, promises and blessing!

Today let’s Manila Manifesto in joy and assurance:
We rejoice that the living God did not abandon us to our lostness and despair. In His love He came after us in Jesus Christ to rescue and remake us. To those who repent and believe in Christ, God grants a share in the new creation. He gives us new life, which includes the forgiveness of our sins and the indwelling, transforming power of His Spirit.
The passage also says that we were excluded from citizenship and had no part in God’s purposes.

Lord Jesus we thank you that we are now included in your kingdom. We rejoice in the love and grace you’ve poured into our lives. You call us your children, your church, your people. To that we say Amen and Amen!

– GK

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Day One: Brought Near

Ephesians 2:12-13 – Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

Today’s passage describes the way things were when we were separated from God.
• We had no relation to Christ
• God was a stranger to us
• We were without hope and God in our lives.
I remember how this was the case for me before I became a Christian, where God had no role or place in the sphere of my life. However, all this changed when I was brought near the Lord through His blood. In Christ we are now those who belong to Him.

Let’s read the Heidelberg Catechism and let’s be affirmed afresh who we are now in Christ.

Q. What does it mean to be washed with Christ’s blood and Spirit?
A. To be washed with Christ’s blood means that God, by grace, has forgiven our sins because of Christ’s blood poured out for us in his sacrifice on the cross.
To be washed with Christ’s Spirit means that the Holy Spirit has renewed and sanctified us to be members of Christ, so that more and more we become dead to sin and live holy and blameless lives.

Today, let’s spend time praying as we thank the Lord that we have been brought near the Lord, and that Christ’s blood has washed us from all of our sins. Let’s worship with the song “It’s Not Over” by Elevation (Click here).

– GK

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Day Five: Advent in joy and delight

Luke 1:14-17
14 He will be a joy and delight to you, and many will rejoice because of his birth, 15 for he will be great in the sight of the Lord. He is never to take wine or other fermented drink, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before he is born. 16 He will bring back many of the people of Israel to the Lord their God. 17 And he will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the parents to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of the righteous—to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”

In this season of advent, we wait and prepare for the Lord’s coming by daily being set apart for the Lord. The language of joy, delight, and rejoicing is associated with God’s salvation, and that is what occurs when we live for the gospel. Therefore, as John exemplified, may our lives also speak and welcome God’s salvation wherever we go. May there be an increase of joy, delight, and rejoicing as we prepare our hearts for the coming of the Lord.

Lord Jesus we thank you that all your promises are yes and amen. We pray for a greater experience of joy and delight in our hearts as we live set apart for the gospel. We pray for a revival in our personal times, in our corporate experience, and in the ministries we are engaged in. Amen.

-GK

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