Day Two – “We trust in you, God, you have the final say…”

Luke 7:7-10
He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof.  That is why I did not even consider myself worthy to come to you. But say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
When Jesus heard this, he was amazed at him, and turning to the crowd following him, he said, “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.”  Then the men who had been sent returned to the house and found the servant well.

“Normally in the gospels Jesus does and says things that surprise people; this is one of the few places where Jesus himself is surprised. And the reason is the sheer quality of the man’s faith. This faith isn’t an abstract belief about God, or the learning of dogmas. It is the simple, clear belief that when Jesus commands something be done, it will be done. He regards Jesus… with authority over sickness and health. If Jesus says that someone will get well, they will.”

(Wright, Nicholas Thomas. Luke for Everyone, p. 80)

Philippians 2:11b
… Jesus Christ is Lord,

    to the glory of God the Father.

Let’s place all of our lives and all that we care about under the Lordship and authority of the one true Lord Jesus as we sing this song – Believe for It (CeCe Winans, click here).

Prayer: Lord, just say the word and we and others will be healed. We trust in and worship you, the holy, loving, good, and faithful God. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

– BR

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Day One – “I am not worthy.”

Luke 7:3-7
The centurion heard of Jesus and sent some elders of the Jews to him, asking him to come and heal his servant.  When they came to Jesus, they pleaded earnestly with him, “This man deserves to have you do this…
Jesus went with them.
He was not far from the house when the centurion sent friends to say to him: “Lord, don’t trouble yourself, for I do not deserve to have you come under my roof… But say the word, and my servant will be healed.”

“The basis of [the Jewish elders’] appeal is found in the idea that the centurion deserves it. That is where the vast difference between the soldier and the Jewish men lies. The centurion… sends a message to Jesus. He acknowledges that he is not worthy.

Behind the miracle of the silent, long-distance healing, there lies another miracle, miraculous enough to amaze even Jesus himself. Hidden within the story is the miracle of the faith of the centurion.

So what is it that amazes Jesus in this passage? [The centurion] asks for what he knows he doesn’t deserve and faithfully expects to get it anyway! He asks for hesed. He seems to understand that although he has a right to expect nothing from Jesus, still Jesus is willing to give him everything.”

(Card, Michael. Luke: The Gospel of Amazement. Kindle Location 1075)

Prayer: Thank you, Lord, for the gift of faith. And thank you for your heart toward us, that is moved and amazed by our faith response to you. Help me to walk and live in the faith that you give today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

– BR

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Day Five: Overflowing

Romans 5:5 (NIV)
5 And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

“How can we be sure? In Romans 5:5b-10, Paul gives two basic reasons: God’s love for us in Christ (vv. 5b-8) and God’s work for us in Christ (vv. 9-10). God does not mete out his love for us in tiny measures; he ‘has poured’ (ekcheo) it into our hearts. This verb is used to describe the ‘pouring out’ of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:17-18).” [Douglas Moo, NIVAC Romans, p.171]

While God cannot interoperate with sin, he has acted on our behalf through Christ and made a way for this, his love being poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit given to those in Christ. Completely independent of whatever positive or negative worth you feel or perceive, this verse is how God sees you right now – simply put, God loves you. The liquid imagery helps us engage this aspect of superabundance -> the goal and connection point as not a cognitive understanding or inkling that perhaps God loves me, but as an experiential reality of the torrents and overflowing waterfall of God’s unexplainable kindness and care penetrating to the depths and core of who we are through God the Holy Spirit.

Prayer: Holy Spirit, help us experience this pouring in of God’s love again today, for us and through us to others! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship to the song “Goodness of God” by Jenn Johnson/Bethel Music (click here).

– BW

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Day Four: One Is Not Like The Other

Romans 5:15-17 (NIV)
15 But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16 Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17 For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

Verse 16 starts with this sequence: one sin -> judgment -> condemnation. Given God is holy and just, this is congruous and makes sense. The continuation is this sequence: many sins -> gift of God (in Christ) -> justification. This does not make sense, but it is the incongruity of the superabundant grace of God! This also means the gift of God is not free in the sense of being available for the taking without any consequence. In God’s gift, we don’t take – we receive and are joined into Christ where the right and full life God intends supernaturally becomes our life.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for this gift that is so not like the trespass. We receive your gift afresh and along with that the joining into Christ and new life in him today! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship to the song “Your Grace Amazes Me” by Christy Nockels/Passion (click here).

– BW

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Day Three: Free in Full

Romans 5:6-8 (NIV)
6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

“This is not a gift to the worthy: no fitting features can be traced in the recipients of God’s love, not even in their hidden potential. And this is the costliest gift imaginable. Christ did not give something, he gave himself: the gift takes place in his death and concerns his blood (5:6–10).” [John Barclay, Paul and the Power of Grace, Kindle location 1969]

Question: why does it say “his own love” in verse 8? As the passage implies, humanity apart from Christ is entirely unloveable, yet God has and demonstrates his own love for us. Here we get a glimpse of the incongruity of grace that stems from who God is. In this fullest sense, God’s grace and gift are free, not because there is no cost but rather because how he offers grace is blind to the worth of the recipient, and because what is given is himself completely.

Prayer: Amazing grace, how sweet the sound! Lord, thank you for this costly gift given out of your own love, independent of consideration of the worth of the recipient – help us to live in that gratitude and full freedom today! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship to the song “This is Amazing Grace” by Phil Wickham (click here).

– BW

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Day Two: It Is By Grace

Let’s read aloud together the following scripture, confession and prayer:

Ephesians 2:4-10
4 But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

Q 1: What is the chief purpose for which man is made?
A: The chief purpose for which man is made is to glorify God,
and to enjoy him for ever.
Q 21: Who is the Redeemer of God’s elect?
A: The only Redeemer of God’s elect is the Lord Jesus Christ,
who, being the eternal Son of God became man, and so
was and continues to be God and man, in two distinct
natures and one person for ever.
[Westminster Shorter Catechism]

Prayer: God, we once again confess everything we have is by your superabundant grace. May the incomparable riches of joy, mercy and kindness spill over in our walks with you, in our homes and in our relationships with others. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship to the song “Heart of Worship” by Matt Redman (click here).

– BW

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Day One: Good News

John 3:16‭-‬17 (NIV)
16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

“Whatever natural power we have to do anything is from God, but God, considering the lapsed condition of mankind, sent His Son to recover us out of that condition, but we, being without strength, our Saviour hath in His Gospel offered an extraordinary assistance of His Holy Spirit, to supply the defects of our natural strength. And this supernatural grace of Christ is that alone which can enable us to perform what He requires of us.“ [Archbishop John Tillotson, The Necessity of Supernatural Grace in Order to a Christian Life]

John 3:16-17 expresses the love of God and the character of our God through the action verbs love, give, send, save. In the background and implied in the passage, we know the looming issue of Sin, but that is not what is front and center – it is our God, who is acting on our behalf. Truly, as Tillotson wrote in the late 17th century, this grace of God is supernatural, is God stepping in, intervening and acting in the most costly way to provide for a humanity that he so loves. Praise God!

Prayer: Thank you Lord for this good news of who you are and what you have done for us, but also our participation now in you and in this new life that you have for us. Help us to receive and experience this supernatural grace again and again! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship to the song “God So Loved” by We The Kingdom (click here).

– BW

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Day Five: Theosis 301 (Joy of Missional Theosis)

John 15:9
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.”

John 20:21
Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.”

“One way to summarize missional theosis is to say that participation in the divine mission effects transformation into the likeness of God, who is by nature love and thus missional… Those who believe and are baptized in the Spirit enter the divine family and begin the process of becoming like the Son, which means also becoming like the Father who sent him, by the enabling work of the Spirit… God’s mission is to engender a family of children who share in the divine ‘DNA’ (identity and behavior) and thereby participate in the ‘family business’ as a unified, holy community sharing in the unity, holiness, and mission of the divine family.” [Michael Gorman, Abide and Go: Missional Theosis in the Gospel of John, 180, 183]

To be a participant in the divine joy of the divine life is to also be a participant in the divine mission. It was the joy of the Son to be sent by the Father. In the same way, it is our joy to be sent by Jesus. Divine joy is inextricably tied up with participation in the mission of God. Our joy is made full when we experience the being sent, just as Jesus was sent by the Father. What divine joy it is when we participate in God’s mission!

Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, your joyful heart is a missional heart. We thank you for the opportunities to be sent on your mission, for in the sending we know your divine joy even more. In Jesus’ name, amen.

— ES

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Day Four: Designed for Fullness

Colossians 2:9-10
For in Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form, and in Christ you have been brought to fullness.

Ephesians 2: 17-19
And I pray that you… know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Just think about that… we are meant to be filled to “the fullness of God”. What is the standard of our “fullness”? Is it just to the measure of feeling “emotionally happy”? That’s not full enough. The fullness we are to receive goes way beyond human emotion. We are meant to be full to the measure of God himself. We know we are full when we match God’s fullness. Or to put it another way, our joy is to match the standard of God’s joy. Let’s not settle for a joy that is anything less than the joy of God himself. We were designed for the fullness, God’s fullness. We can live this way each day through the Holy Spirit who has made us one with God “in Christ”.

Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, this world is searching for fullness, but I know it is only found in you. I thank you for bringing me into your divine fullness through the Holy Spirit and faith in Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship to the song “Wellspring” by Leeland (click here).

— ES

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Day Three: Eternal Pleasures

Let’s read out loud together

Psalm 16
Keep me safe, my God,
for in you I take refuge.

I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
apart from you I have no good thing.”
I say of the holy people who are in the land,
“They are the noble ones in whom is all my delight.”
Those who run after other gods will suffer more and more.
I will not pour out libations of blood to such gods
or take up their names on my lips.

LORD, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the LORD, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the LORD.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead,
nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

Let’s pray: Heavenly Father, you are my Lord, and apart from you I have no good thing. You are the Creator, I am the creature, and I have a “delightful inheritance.” I am filled with joy in your presence, and your pleasures will never run out. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship to the song “Touch of Heaven” by Hillsong (click here).

— ES

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