Day Five: The Lord Carries Me, Carries You

Isaiah 46:3-4 (NLT) – “Listen to me, descendants of Jacob, all you who remain in Israel. I have cared for you since you were born. Yes, I carried you before you were born. I will be your God throughout your lifetime—until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.

“Hasn’t it already been so good? Being carried by God all these years. We’ve gotten to see over three decades worth of one another’s lives…We have gotten to see three decades worth of life stories amongst us…where we can point back at one another’s lives and both laugh and cry again and say, ‘God carried me, God carried you, God carried us through those times.’ Because each and every time we turned away from other passions, other pursuits and honored God as our first love – the one we place our trust in, the one who is worth our all…did he not draw near, pick us up and carry us once again on the path he has set for us?” [from Anne Kim’s message]

Spend a moment in thankfulness to the Lord, remembering how he has carried you in his faithful love.

Prayer: “Lord, we thank you that it is by your grace that we have been able to turn away from other passions and other pursuits and honored you as our first love. Jesus you are our greatest and first love!  We thank you that we have experienced, are experiencing and will continue to experience your faithful ‘carrying’ in our lives!” In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s close in worship with “The Blessing” by Kari Jobe/Elevation Worship. Let’s sing this over our lives as we prayerfully remember one another in the church and also, pray that others will be brought into being carried by our Father in Heaven.

– EK

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Day Four: Being Carried…Finding Rest

Matthew 11:28-30 (NLT) – Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.”

“Few people know how to rest these days. Even on vacation, many people rush to cram in as much as they can before returning to their jobs, where they spend twice as much energy catching up on the work and mail that piled up in their absence. Many of us need vacations just to rest from our vacations! Perhaps, we have been looking for rest in the wrong places. Jesus said, “Come to Me . . . and I will give you rest.” Like peace, rest and contentment can be found only in one place, from one source, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus gives us the ultimate rest, the confidence we need, to escape the frustration and chaos of the world around us. Rest in Him and don’t worry about what lies ahead. Jesus Christ has already taken care of tomorrow.” [Billy Graham, Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening Devotions, p. 42]

Daily, let’s turn away from the idols that hinder us and instead, come to the Lord, in full surrender and dependence on him.

Prayer: “Lord, I look to you and come to you in full surrender and dependence. Let me live restfully in your presence today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Power of Your Love” sung by Darlene Zschech (Hillsong).

– EK

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Day Three: No Fail Living

Isaiah 46:1-4 (NIV) – Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low; their idols are borne by beasts of burden. The images that are carried about are burdensome, a burden for the weary. They stoop and bow down together; unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity. “Listen to me, you descendants of Jacob, all the remnant of the people of Israel, you whom I have upheld since your birth, and have carried since you were born. Even to your old age and gray hairs I am he, I am he who will sustain you.I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.

Here, it is very clear that God is the one who delivers us, and idols fail us. As we reflect on this truth, let’s remember Lien Briggs’ testimony: “…but realized how I had fixed my life all around my job security and being sure I wouldn’t lose it, because I felt like it was the only thing that allowed me to be sure…Thankfully we had Sunday worship the next day, God met me and I was able to repent of prideful and selfish thinking. I came to the Lord with all my burdens and concerns that I felt that I was supposed to take care of, when in fact I just had to lay them at his feet. I realized that I was living as if I was living without the Lord in this area of my life, and that I was not trusting in the Lord but, rather, taking things into my own hands…I felt a big weight lifted off my shoulders and knew that God would take care of my career and my future much better than I could.”

Prayer: “Lord, I repent of my pride and selfish ways that have hindered me in fully depending on you. I surrender all the burdens, cares and worries I have today and lay them at your feet, because, you, Lord, never fail as you promise in your word of how you will carry me through all of life. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Let’s close in worship to “How Great Is Your Love” by Kristian Stanfill (Passion).

– EK

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Day Two: What Are You Pursuing?

Ecclesiastes 2:10a,11 (NIV) – I denied myself nothing my eyes desired…Yet when I surveyed all that my hands had done and what I had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun.

Philippians 3:8 (NIV) – What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ

“King Solomon was convinced he knew how to find happiness—and with his vast resources, he was able to pursue it. Wealth, fame, pleasure, power, lavish houses, a reputation for wisdom—you name it, King Solomon had it. Yet after gaining everything he had ever wanted, he reluctantly concluded that his life was still empty and without meaning. His search for lasting happiness had failed; his soul was empty. Are you like King Solomon—convinced that the things of this world will bring you happiness and peace, and pursuing them with all your might? Don’t be deceived; they never will. And the reason is because you were made to know God.” [Billy Graham, Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening Devotions, p. 24]

Prayer: “Lord, I see that all other pursuits are meaningless as I was created to know and to worship you.  May you renew my heart with fresh passion to pursue you more than anything else and may you enable me through your Spirit to live in this passion for you today. In Jesus’s name. Amen.”

Let’s worship to “One Thing” by Hillsong.

– EK

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Day One: Can’t You See?

Isaiah 46:1-2 (NIV) – Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low; their idols are borne by beasts of burden. The images that are carried about are burdensome,  a burden for the weary. They stoop and bow down together; unable to rescue the burden, they themselves go off into captivity.

“Isaiah has lingered over the problem of idols. He doesn’t want to move on until we understand that idols are basic to our daily lives. They’re so obvious to us, we don’t see them. We don’t see our culture; our culture is what we see with. We’re influenced in ways we don’t notice. We have problems and never understand their real cause. So, Isaiah wants us think about this until we see with new clarity that the salvation God offers is our only hope.” [Raymond C. Ortlund Jr., Isaiah, Preaching the Word, p. 307]

This imagery in Isaiah 46:1-2 helps us to see that idols not only need to be carried, they become a “burden for the weary.” This is a helpful implication of whether we are holding on to idols and not living in the “carrying” of our God – whether we feel more weighed down and burdened by life – feeling tired, exhausted, frustrated or weary.

Are you feeling over-burdened and tired by life? Then, let’s ask ourselves – “what is consuming my heart more than the Lord?  What am I really hoping in?”

Prayer: “Lord, would you help me to see the ‘idols’ in my heart? Help me to see with such clarity so that I can turn away from them and instead, look to you as you alone bring salvation. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Let’s close in singing “The Heart of Worship” by Matt Redman.

– EK

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Day Five: Fixing Our Eyes – Endurance

Hebrews 12:1b-3 (NIV) – And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

“God calls you to persevere by faith, and then, with powerful grace, he protects and keeps you. In Romans 15:5, Paul calls your Lord “the God of endurance.” This title really gets at the center of where your hope is to be found…Let me state it plainly: your hope is not to be found in your willingness and ability to endure, but in God’s unshakable, enduring commitment to never turn from his work of grace. Your hope is that you have been welcomed into communion with One who will endure no matter what…Your hope of enduring is not to be found in your character or strength, but in your Lord’s. Because he will ever be faithful, you can bank on the fact that he will give you what you need to be faithful too. Your perseverance rests on him, and he defines what endurance looks like! When difficulty exposes the weakness of your resolve and the limits of your strength, you do not have to panic, because he will endure even in those moments when you don’t feel able to do so yourself.” [Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies. Crossway. Kindle Edition.]

How have you experienced God’s faithfulness?

Prayer: “Thank you Father for Your faithfulness!  Even though I may be shaky, You are unshakable and Your faithfulness will continue to endure. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Let’s worship to “You Never Let Go” by Matt Redman. [click here]

EK

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Day Four: Fixing Our Eyes – Waiting on Him

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) –…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Isaiah 40:31 (NIV) 31 but those who hope in the Lord
    will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not grow weary,
    they will walk and not be faint.

“Nowhere does the Bible teach that Christians are exempt from tribulation and natural disaster. We live in a world infected with the disease of sin, and we share in its misery and pain. But the Bible does teach that we can face trials with a power others do not have—the power of God. As we trust Him, God helps us endure, and even discern His purposes in the midst of suffering. Christiana Tsai, the Christian daughter of a former governor in China, wrote, ‘Throughout my many years of illness, I have never dared to ask God why He allowed me to suffer so long. I only ask what He wants me to do.’ The eagle has the unique ability to lock its joints and soar effortlessly on an updraft instead of flapping its wings. As we wait on God, He helps us use the winds of adversity to soar above our problems. As the Bible says, ‘Those who wait on the LORD . . . shall mount up with wings like eagles.’” [Billy Graham, Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening Devotions (p. 91). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.]

In whatever you are going through, let’s take a moment to prayerfully consider what would the Lord want you to do.

Prayer: “Father, I recognize that it is not about me, but about what you would want me to do.  I will wait on You. I will put my hope in You. I trust that you will enable me to soar above my problems.  In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Waiting Here for You” by Martin Smith. [click here]

EK

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Day Three: Fixing Our Eyes – Not Forgetting

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) –…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

2 Chronicles 32:7-8 (NIV) – “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged because of the king of Assyria and the vast army with him, for there is a greater power with us than with him. With him is only the arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God to help us and to fight our battles.”

“For the believer, fear is always God-forgetful. If  God is sovereign and his rule is complete, wise, righteous, and good, why would you fear? Judah had been invaded by the powerful king of Assyria, Sennacherib. Hezekiah prepared and armed Judah for battle…He knew that in these moments God’s people were often given to fear. They would forget who they were as the children of God and they would forget who God is in all his almighty power and glory…Hezekiah didn’t want the people of Judah to think that they were left to their battle courage, their war experience, and their skill with weapons. He wanted them to know that they had been amazingly blessed with another ingredient, one that they could not, must not forget. So he said: ‘Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the horde that is with him…With him is an arm of flesh, but with us is the Lord our God, to help us and to fight our battles.’” [Paul David Tripp, New Morning Mercies. Crossway. Kindle Edition.]

What are the battles that you are facing?

Prayer: “Father, thank you that I am your child and that you fight my battles.  You are with me and are my help.  Would you grant me new strength and courage to face the battles. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.” [click here]

Let’s close in worship with “Good Forever” by Matt Redman.

 

EK

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Day Two: Fixing Our Eyes – Putting on Worship

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) –…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Acts 16:25 (NIV) – About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.

“Jay was my favorite sister. Even though she was older, she didn’t treat me like a tagalong. She liked me. I tried to copy everything she did. Maybe that’s why, many years later in the early seventies, after my accident, she asked me to come live with her. I was still a novice at being a quadriplegic, struggling to adjust to life in a wheelchair. But Jay made the early years of adapting to paralysis bearable. Sometimes, even sweet. My favorite memory was one late summer evening on the back porch under a full moon when Jay pulled up her rocker…we lifted up our voices on a beloved old hymn: “There is a fountain filled with blood, / drawn from Immanuel’s veins, / and sinners plunged beneath that flood, / lose all their guilty stains.” Even in the hardest and darkest of times, our loving Father weaves treasured memories and intervals of music and laughter through our lives. And when we sing aloud of his goodness and grace, our pain — even if only for the moment — loses its grip.[Joni Eareckson Tada, Pearls of Great Price. Zondervan. Kindle Edition.]

What is our usual response to pain and difficulty?

Instead, let’s see how putting on worship changes the way we walk through the hard times.

Prayer: “Father, no matter how I feel or what I am going through, I choose to worship you.  You are good and your love endures in all ways in my life!  In Jesus’ Name. Amen.”

Let’s close in worship with “Goodness of God” by Bethel Music. [click here]

EK

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Day One: Fixing Our Eyes – Not Turning Aside

Hebrews 12:2 (NIV) –…fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith.

Job 23:11 (NIV) – My feet have closely followed his steps; I have kept to his way without turning aside.

“Some scholars think Job may be the oldest book in the Bible. Whether that is true or not, it certainly deals with one of humanity’s oldest questions: Why does God allow suffering? It isn’t an easy issue, because it goes to the heart of our deepest questions about God. After all, the argument runs, how could a loving and gracious God allow suffering? To put it another way: if God lets us suffer, He must not love us. But that conclusion is false. God does love us, and the proof is the suffering He allowed His Son to endure on the cross. What, then, is the answer to this age-old question? The key is to understand the character of God. That is what Job discovered. No, God never gave him a logical, complete rationale for his suffering. But through his experience, Job came to realize that God could be trusted because He is merciful and loving. And you can trust God too—not because He always gives us all the answers, but simply because He is God.” [Billy Graham, Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening Devotions (p. 457). Thomas Nelson. Kindle Edition.]

Take some time to consider the character of our God especially displayed through our Lord Jesus on the cross.

Prayer: “Father, no matter what I go through, let me not turn aside, but help to me remember and treasure your love and mercy displayed through our Lord Jesus on the cross. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Let’s close in worship to “Once Again” by Matt Redman. [click here]

EK

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