Let’s read aloud the following verses and prayer together.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. -Hebrews 12:1-2 (NIV)
Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the LORD. Search for the LORD and for his strength; continually seek him. Remember the wonders he has performed, his miracles, and the rulings he has given, -Psalm 105:3-5 (NLT)
As surely as God is faithful, our word to you does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” For all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for his glory. It is God who enables us, along with you, to stand firm for Christ. He has commissioned us, and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us. -2 Corinthians 1:18-22 (NLT)
Prayer: Lord, we respond to your faithful love in worship, by depending upon your strength, and by continually seeking you. We thank you that you have written our stories, and that all your promises are yes and amen. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let’s worship to the song “Because He Lives” by Matt Maher (click here).
Psalm 105 (NIV) 16 He called down famine on the land and destroyed all their supplies of food; 17 and he sent a man before them— Joseph, sold as a slave. 18 They bruised his feet with shackles, his neck was put in irons, 19 till what he foretold came to pass, till the word of the Lord proved him true.
What Psalm 105 does is to correctly interpret everything that Joseph goes through, and that is not through the lens of his personal life struggles, but through the lens of God’s covenantal promise. That everything that occurred in Israel, Egypt, and in Joseph’s life was for the sake of God’s covenantal promise. Verse 17 clearly states that it is the Lord who sent Joseph, for his life was fully incorporated into God’s covenant promise and fulfillment.
For us today, how do you interpret your past and your present—especially the difficult experiences of life? To know that Jesus writes our story, is to see all of our life’s occurrences as part of God’s story being written. In other words, the painful experiences are no longer ours to own and live with. They now belong to Jesus, where in those very places of the dungeon, we will see God’s salvation, healing, and rescue.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we ask for new lenses through which to see our lives—the lenses that bring clarity of the gospel. May you have your way with us today. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let’s worship to the song “I Belong To You” by Jesus Culture (click here).
Psalm 105 (NIV) 8 He remembers his covenant forever, the promise he made, for a thousand generations, 9 the covenant he made with Abraham, the oath he swore to Isaac. 10 He confirmed it to Jacob as a decree, to Israel as an everlasting covenant: 11 “To you I will give the land of Canaan as the portion you will inherit.”
The passage above shows how once God makes a promise (a covenant), the Lord keeps it. He remembers his covenant forever! For the Israelites, everything that they went through is marked by God’s faithfulness in keeping his promise. This means that the Lord is committed to seeing each of us become the children of God in our experience, in our healing, in our character, as we grow as his children, disciples, and part of his church.
Some of the struggles of identity are due to wrongly striving to live our own scripts and stories. Perhaps the reason for the lingering of the old patterns and unresolved issues is that we have our own plans and our own stories apart from God. The encouragement today is to hold onto God’s truth that his covenant promise is forever. You will see the goodness of God working in your life, as you live out the story that Jesus has written for you. Today, let’s surrender our old stories of sin and death to Jesus, and may we live out Jesus’ story in greater joy and surrender.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, in repentance we turn away from our own stories. We ask that you set us free from our past and the sinful tendency of wanting stories apart from you. Fill us with your joy of salvation. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Let’s worship with the song “Lord, I Need You” by Matt Maher (click here).
Ephesians 1:4-5 (NLT) “Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. 5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ.”
As the people of God, we are given whole new stories to live—in how we are to see and understand our past, our present and our future. No longer based upon our own personal stories, but based upon the story of God’s salvation. According to God’s word today, our stories were written even before he made the world. Our stories begin with God’s own love for us—chosen by God to be adopted and belong to the family of God.
Therefore, in Christ we are taken up and incorporated into the story of God. Hence, our daily living is about witnessing the unfolding of God’s work of salvation in every area, with the goal of becoming holy and blameless in his sight. This occurs as our character is tested, proven and transformed to be his children, where our identities as the children of God become forged by God’s very presence and power.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank you that our stories begin with you, and continue with you. We ask that our identities as the children of God become forged even more, as we receive your presence and power to live. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let’s worship to the song “Living with a Fire” by Jesus Culture (click here).
Psalm 105 (NLT) 1 Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness. Let the whole world know what he has done. 2 Sing to him; yes, sing his praises. Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds. 3 Exult in his holy name; rejoice, you who worship the Lord. 4 Search for the Lord and for his strength; continually seek him.
This was the whole life trajectory of the Israelites; to witness the Lord fulfilling his promise to them. Apart from God’s promise to make them into the people of God, the Israelites didn’t have a separate purpose of their own. When they tried, they got into idolatry, were overtaken by other nations, and were not living in the fullness of God’s blessing and joy. Hence, Israel didn’t have a separate story apart from God, as they didn’t even have a heritage of their own, except that which God gave them. Their personal history was the canvas on which the Lord painted his covenant of love. The same goes for us, for we live in the greatest story—the story that Jesus has written for us. Our stories and lives are the canvases on which the Lord paints his covenant of love—from promise to fulfillment.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we thank you that you have written your story of salvation in our lives. May our eyes witness your faithful promise being fulfilled each day. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Let’s worship to the song “Blessed Assurance” by Vertical Worship (click here).