Day Five – Come Now, Let us Reason Together

Isaiah 1:15-18, 26b-27 (ESV)
Even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean…
cease to do evil,
learn to do good…
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool…

Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness,
the faithful city.”
Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
and those in her who repent, by righteousness.

“What does God see that we don’t? Our hands bloody? Jesus said that murder can take many forms, including anger, cutting words and unresolved relational tension (Matthew 5:21-24).

God is more ready to meet us with grace than we thought. His invitation is irresistible:  God is saying, ‘Come on, let’s talk this over. Here’s my invitation. You present your blood-red hands to me in open confession, I’ll wash you clean in the blood of Jesus, and your worship will come alive.’

We are redeemed at a cost to God that we will never understand. At the cross he put the real moral guilt of sinners onto Christ, the perfect substitute. What else can we do but repent? We need to repent of our sins every day. We need to receive afresh, with the empty hands of faith, real righteousness from Jesus Christ every day.” (Ortlund, Raymond C. Jr.  Isaiah:  God Saves Sinners.)

Prayer: Father, thank you for righteousness and redemption in Jesus. I turn to you today with empty hands of faith and ask for cleansing and righteousness afresh, that I may live like you in this world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “Upon Him” by Matt Redman (click here).

-BR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day Four – Listen, and you will find life

John 4:15-18
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water..”
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

“‘Intrigued by Jesus’ offer of ‘living water,’ she asks to have some. If you want to take Jesus up on his offer of running, pure water, bubbling up inside you, you will have to get rid of the stale, moldy, stagnant water you’ve been living off all this time. In her case it was her married life – or rather, her unmarried life. Jesus saw straight to the heart of what was going on.” (Wright, N.T.  John for Everyone, Part 1. p. 47)

This woman could have taken offense at Jesus’ words and felt like it was the fault of others, but those six men were not the ones standing with Jesus being offered living water. This moment was about her and Jesus. She stayed and listened and agreed with his assessment of her life.

Isaiah 55:2-3
Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.
You will enjoy the finest food.
“Come to me with your ears wide open.
Listen, and you will find life.”

Prayer: Jesus, you alone are Lord. I come to you today to listen and to live. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

As we worship the Lord in song with “I Speak Jesus” by Charity Gayle, let’s declare his name and rule over every part of our lives (click here).

-BR

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Day Three – The Gift of God – Living Water

John 4:10-15; 26
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “Where can you get this living water?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water…”

Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you – I am he.”

“Jesus is talking about a new life that is available through the Spirit of God. Water has become a symbol of this new reality since the beginning of the book and later will be defined as the Holy Spirit (7:37-39). Christ himself is the source of precious living water, which can transform even this woman in her isolation. It is the ‘gift’ of God.

It is…a dynamic experience that makes a life as living as the water itself… The woman in search of a well discovers that the Spirit could transform her life into a well that does not require reaching and dipping, but which roils and gurgles with water until it spills over its rim.” (Burge, Gary M. John: NIV Application Commentary. p. 94)

Prayer: Lord, we pray for those around us who are in search of water. May they discover that your Spirit can transform their lives into wells that spill over. Fill us with your Holy Spirit in our campus meetings, fall outreaches and tabling, missional groups and outreaches, workplaces, and homes – so that others may experience the Messiah. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “In Christ Alone” by Passion (click here).

-BR

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Day Two – It is Over

Song of Solomon 2:11-12
“See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come….”

John 4:26
“I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

“I still held onto the trauma and the memory of [our son’s] fight for life.  I kept reliving the grief of him being taken, the fear of him dying, and the agony of leaving our tiny baby on a breathing machine in the hospital while we slept at home.

I realized past events held me, and through prayer I took all the memories, flashbacks, and grief to the cross of Jesus.  God freed me to live in the here and now and properly celebrate our amazing God and his incredible gift to us. It was over.” (Redman, Beth.  God Knows my Name:  Never Forgotten, Forever Loved.  p. 48)

Beth Redman’s order here is crucial.  She held onto the trauma, and the result was that it felt like the past events held her.  But they did not, for when she went to the Lord in prayer, he said to her, “You can let it go,” and “It is over.”

Where do we hold onto fear?  God wants to say to us, “It is over.”  We don’t have to live in fear.  The season of singing has come, because the Messiah is here.

Ephesians 1:6
We praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.

Prayer: Lord, I praise you for the glorious grace that you have poured out on me because I belong to Jesus.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “God You’re So Good” by Passion (click here).

-BR

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Day One –The High Point of History

Let’s read aloud together the following passage, commentary quote, and prayer:

John 1:1-5, 9, 12-14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world… To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

“‘The Word become flesh’… [is] the high point of history. God has become incarnate in the Word and entered this world… [It] is a mystery beyond us; we don’t fully understand it but fully rejoice as we accept it.” (Osborne, Grant R.  John:  Verse by Verse.)

Prayer: Father God, thank you for the Word become flesh that made his dwelling among us – our Lord Jesus. We rejoice today as we fully accept this truth and your presence with us by the filling of your Holy Spirit anew. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “King Jesus” by Matt Redman (click here).

– BR

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Day Five – Altar Building – Offering and Devoting Ourselves

Romans 11:33, 35-36; 12:1-2
Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable his judgments,
and his paths beyond tracing out!
“Who has ever given to God,
that God should repay them?”
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.

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. 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.

Acts 2:42
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

The word translated as “devoted” is an important word in Acts.  It means “to be devoted to,” “to hold fast to,” “to continue in,” or “to persevere in” something.  The point is that the four nouns that follow this verb are not just marginal activities but the primary signs of life in the early church. (Pinter, Dean. Acts (The Story of God Bible Commentary))

Prayer:  Lord, in view of your mercy I offer myself to you anew today.  I devote myself to these things that you have given us in our church.  Fill our churches today to live our calling and lead us into Sunday worship together that is pleasing to you.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let’s worship with thanksgiving for our lives and our churches with the song “Grace is on our Side” by Elevation Worship (click here).

– BR

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Day Four – Hearts Burning

Luke 24:30-35
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.  Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.  They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?”
They got up and returned at once to Jerusalem. There they found the Eleven and those with them, assembled together and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen…”  Then the two told what had happened on the way, and how Jesus was recognized by them when he broke the bread.

“The burning of their hearts is only a foretaste of what is to come when the Holy Spirit is poured out on the disciples as tongues of fire.” (Garland, David E.; Clinton E. Arnold. Luke (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament))

Acts 1:3-5, 8
After his suffering, [Jesus] presented himself to them and gave many convincing proofs that he was alive. He… gave them this command: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised… You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses.”

Prayer:  Lord, please pour out your Holy Spirit upon me and upon your church afresh today, that we may be your witnesses.  Take us, in the power of your Holy Spirit, to others, that they may know that you yourself come to them.  Fill our campus meetings, missional groups, homes, and FoJ, middle school and teen ministries with your presence.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let’s worship with the song “Here Again” by Elevation Worship (click here).

– BR

 

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Day Three – Urging Jesus to Stay

Luke 24:28-31
As they approached the village to which they were going, Jesus continued on as if he were going farther.  But they urged him strongly, “Stay with us, for it is nearly evening; the day is almost over.” So he went in to stay with them.
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them.  Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight.

It was Jesus himself who came to them, but now, these two disciples urge Jesus to stay with them.  Their desire for more of what Jesus was giving them and their obedience to God’s law led to greater blessing in their lives. 

“Obviously they did not want him to leave and ‘urged him strongly’ to stay with them… This is the way God wishes the event to transpire, with the [two] themselves strongly involved in the action.  The table fellowship is made possible by this request.  Jesus enters their home to stay with them.” (Osborne, Grant R.. Luke Verse by Verse (Osborne New Testament Commentaries))

This is the way that God desires for things to happen in our lives:  as we pray.  Let’s pray that he will touch every part of our lives with his holy presence.

Prayer:   Let’s pray as our Lord Jesus taught us to pray:
“Our Father in heaven,
help us to honor your holy name!”
In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let’s worship with Holy, Holy, Holy (We Bow Before Thee) by Shane and Shane (click here).

– BR

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Day Two – Jesus is Alive

Luke 24:13-15; 25-27
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem.  They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. 15 As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them…
He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken!  Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”  And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.

Jesus himself came up and walked along with these two disciples. “They need to hear the Word of God to clear up the confusion of their own ‘words’ (24:17).”(Garland, David E.; Clinton E. Arnold. Luke (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament))

Because we are his, Jesus also comes to us, by the Holy Spirt, to apply his word at the core of our being – burning away all lies, confusion, hopelessness, despair and mistrust –to apply the truth that in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus is our living, our dying, and our new life.

Prayer:  Jesus, you are the risen Lord.  May the truth of that word touch every part of my life.  I also pray for my brother/ sister who is in need of your resurrection power at work in their life.  Will you come and walk alongside them and minister your word of life?  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song and declare over our lives with “Jesus is Alive” by Sinach (click here).

– BR

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Day One – Of First Importance

Let’s read aloud together the following passage, creed and prayer:

1 Corinthians 15:2-6 (NLT)
It is this Good News that saves you if you continue to believe the message:
Christ died for our sins, just as the Scriptures said.
He was buried, and he was raised from the dead on the third day,  just as the Scriptures said.
He was seen by Peter and then by the Twelve.
After that, he was seen by more than 500 of his followers at one time.

Apostles’ Creed:
I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.
I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.
He was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit, and born of the Virgin Mary.
He suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried.
On the third day He rose again.  He ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic (universal) church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.  Amen.

Prayer:
Lord Jesus, thank you for the good news of the gospel.  Thank you that you yourself have come to make it known to me.  Today, may my heart burn with the truth of your life, death, and resurrection for my life and for my world.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “This I Believe (The Creed)” by Hillsong (click here).

-BR

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