Day five: When God Smiles

“[Chorus 1] Turn us, O God…
  [Chorus 2] Turn us, O God of Heaven’s Armies…
         [Bridge a] Turn to us, O God of Heaven’s Armies…
         [Bridge b] Then we will not turn away from you…
  [Chorus 3] Turn us, O Lord God of Heaven’s Armies
                          cause your face
                          to shine on us,
                          that we may be saved.” (Psalm 80)

The repeated “choruses,” as well as the intriguing segue of the “bridges,” crescendos to the final chorus. We’re calling on God, the commander of the greatest heavenly forces imaginable, to deploy his troops to rescue us, to restore order in our world, to rebuild the ruins in our lives.

It’s so gratifying to see kids’ faces light up as they open their gifts—especially when it’s a surprise and something they truly desired. Imagine the Father’s delight as he sees our faces beam with wonder and amazement, as we receive the gift of his Son, Jesus—a complete surprise, yet exactly what we’ve always desired.

What would cause God’s face to shine, to smile, to radiate with delight? When he sees salvation at work. Broken lives mended. Trashed lives restored. Dead come alive.

Let’s pray: Lord God of Heaven’s Armies, turn us, turn us, turn us! Cause your face to shine on us! Do something in our lives that makes you smile when you see us! Look at us and do what makes you happy! It leads to salvation! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s joyfully sing “For the Mighty One has done great things for me” – click here —MERRY CHRISTMAS!



Day four: Checking for updates…

“Watch over this vine…
    the son you have raised up for yourself…
Let your hand rest on the man at your right hand,
    the son of man you have raised up for yourself.

[Bridge b]
Then we will not
    turn away from you…” (Psalm 80.14-18)

In the Bible, Israel is called God’s son. But this son was hopelessly stubborn, rebellious, unwise and unfaithful. Jesus calls himself the “true vine” (John 15), in other words, the “true Israel”—the Son whom God loves, the Son with whom God is well pleased (Matthew 3.17).

“Stephen, full of the Holy Spirit, looked up to heaven and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing at the right hand of God. ‘Look,’ he said, ‘I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.’” (Acts 7.55-56)

“Son of man” is literally “son of Adam.” Through Adam, a sinful humanity ensued. Jesus came as Adam 2.0, to issue a new humanity, one that would reflect his image. When God the Father looks at his Son, he simultaneously sees the new humanity hidden in Christ (Colossians 3.3). The love, approval, satisfaction that the Father has for the Son is now experienced by those found in Christ (Philippians 3.9).

Let’s pray: Father, through Christ, we receive your love, approval, pleasure and joy. With this love, I cannot be shaken! Your love is better than life! Thank you for your faithful love that never lets go of me! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s sing “O Come Let Us Adore Him” (Upperroom) – click here



Day three: Turn to us, God of Heaven’s Armies!

“You transplanted a vine…
    You cleared the ground…
It took root and filled the land…
    covered the mighty cedars with its branches.
Why have you broken down its walls…
    boars from the foRest ravage it…

[Bridge a]
Turn to us, God of
    Heaven’s Armies!
Look down from
    heaven and see!” (Psalm 80.8-14)

Not only did God save this vine, replant and nourish it, but he cultivated it to become a vine like the world has never seen! What kind of vine provides shade for mountains? Has branches as strong as cedars? Extending all the way from the Mediterranean to the Euphrates? Yet, the season of abundant flourishing has come to an abrupt end. Helpless, the vine has been used and abused, ravaged by opportunists and oppressors.

It’s in the middle portion of life where we sometimes lose heart—setbacks, distractions, obstacles, unforeseen circumstances, failures. When we hit life’s lows, it’s nearly impossible to imagine things changing. This is when we must remember how much God cares for us, how much he has invested in us, and therefore, he must have a plan for us.

Let’s pray: Turn to us, God of Heaven’s Armies! Look down from heaven and see! Look at the state of my life! The way you have cared for me all my life, I believe I will see your goodness once again. May I flourish in Christ! In Jesus’ name, amen.

As we worship, may we be blanketed by God’s goodness. Let’s sing “Goodness of God” (Upperroom) – click here



Day Two: Agapé Christmas Carol

Mary responded,

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
    How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
    and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
    and he has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
    to all who fear him.” (Luke 1.46-50)

This is how Mary, as a young teen, responded to the Lord’s calling. Generations later, that wave of mercy has crashed upon our shores! With awe and amazement, let’s answer our call to serve the Lord. We can start by rejoicing in God, releasing our souls to praise him and to dance in celebration. Merry Christmas! God has taken notice of us!

Let’s pray: Lord, with all my soul, I praise you! My spirit rejoices in you, my Savior! I’m amazed that you’ve noticed me, that you know me by name, that you care for me daily, that you have thought of a purpose for my life. Mighty One, continue to do great things for us! May your waves of mercy keep crashing upon distant shores! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s sing and pray along to this powerful version of “The Magnificat” (Tim Rapp & Jason Park) from Christmas Sunday at AMC – click here

Download the mp3, listen on your commute, while working out, while washing the dishes… The Magnificat (Live at AMC)

– JP


Day One: Stir up your power, O God!

“Hear us, Shepherd of Israel,
    you who lead Joseph like a flock…
    Shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin
    and Manasseh.
Stir up your might;
    come and save us.

[Chorus 1]
Turn us, O God;
    cause your face
    to shine on us,
    that we may be saved.” (Psalm 80.1-3)

Calling on the Lord to be our Shepherd is an invitation to lead us from among us, to share in our circumstances and guide us to safe pasture. Joseph spent a lot of his middle years despised, in slavery, falsely accused, imprisoned, and forgotten. But in the end, he realized none of those years were lost. God led him out. And so, we call on the Lord to shepherd us out when we are stuck in the middle of seeming nowhere, when we feel we are wasting away, adrift, destitute.

Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasseh represent the northern part of the kingdom. In a church or a community, not everyone is experiencing the same thing. Some in our ministries are hurting, struggling… maybe even silently. Think of those that are not doing well. Ask the Lord to shine forth before them, to light their way with his radiant glory.

Let’s pray: O God, stir up your power. With great power come among us. Those that are struggling and stuck in darkness, shepherd them, lead them out with your radiant glory. Stir up your power, Lord! Cause your face to shine on us, that we might be saved! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s sing “Hearts Waiting (Joy to the World)” click here by Matt Redman