Day Four: Epic Transformation

Colossians 3:9-11 (NIV)
 9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. 

“I often read this verse in an individual mindset – I put off my old self. But this self is also corporate – we all put on this corporate self that is being renewed in the image of Jesus, its Creator. This language echoes the beautiful hymn of 1:15-20. Jesus is at work renewing his church in the knowledge of his image. This is the same word for ‘epic knowledge’ that Paul has been using throughout the letter, and perhaps, the most developed sense of what it means ‘to know’ – to be transformed together into the image of Christ. He follows this verse with the famous lines – ‘Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.’ This is the way we are to not lie to each other any longer – seeing in these categories. Any former Barbarians or Scythians here? No longer!” – [paraphrased from P. Nate’s message]

Prayer: Father, renew us together in this knowledge of Jesus today. May we be transformed into the image of Christ anew. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

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

– NB

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Day Three: Starting from the Top

Colossians 3:1-4 (NIV)
 1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

In Colossians chapter 2, you’ll notice a quick turn of events. In 2:6-7, Paul exhorts the church to continue to live thankfully in Christ in the ways they have already received. Then, in 2:8, he warns them about “empty” and “hollow” human philosophies that threaten to deceive them in contrast with their newfound life in Christ. The “big picture” argument of chapter 2 is that they must not “start from the bottom” as the false teachers seem to be saying—that they are living in lack and need to level up to be fulfilled. Instead, Paul writes in 3:1-4 that they must set their minds and hearts on “things above” because they have already started at the top, because their life is now already hidden in Christ. As God’s people, we begin with thanksgiving for who we are in Christ, with the epic knowledge of the Spirit that we lack nothing!

Prayer: Jesus, in you, we lack nothing. Today, may our hearts and minds recognize the abundance of your fullness in our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Let’s worship by singing the song, “Spirit of God” by New Life Worship (click here).

-NB

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Day Two: Epic Knowledge

Colossians 1:9-10 (NIV)
For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,  10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.

Paul often begins his letters with a prayer of thanksgiving. Reading these introductory prayers carefully, you will find that the content of each specific prayer gives a sneak peek into the heart he plans to share later with the church in each epistle. In Colossians, the prayer of thanksgiving is extended, and expresses Paul’s desire that the Colossians grow in the knowledge (epignosis) that they have already been given to recognize the grace of God in the gospel (the verbal form of epignosis is used in v. 6). This word is an intensified form of the usual word for knowledge (gnosis), which seems to be an intentional move on Paul’s part. This kind of knowledge is truly “epic” – a relational recognition of Jesus’ love and grace at work in our lives. Today, may we be filled with this kind of epic knowledge as we continue to give thanks to the Father!

Prayer: Lord, fill us today with growing knowledge of who you are and what you desire to do in our lives. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Let’s worship by singing the song, “There’s Nothing Our God Can’t Do” by Passion (click here).

-NB

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Day One: Jesus, the Alpha and the Omega

Let’s read aloud together the following Scripture and prayer:

Colossians 1:15-23a (NIV)

15 The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy.  19 For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20 and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

21 Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. 22 But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation— 23 if you continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, thank you for rescuing us through Jesus. Enable us to continue our lives in faith today. In Jesus’ name we pray, amen.

Let’s worship by singing the song, “Unwavering” by Matt Maher (click here).

– NB

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Day Five: God’s Wonderful Deeds

Let’s read aloud Palm 105:1-5 and Ephesians 5:1-2, 4:

Palm 105:1-5 (NIV)
Give thanks to the Lord and proclaim his greatness.
Let the whole world know what he has done.
Sing to him; yes, sing his praises.
Tell everyone about his wonderful deeds.
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…

Ephesians 5:1-2, 4 (NIV/NLT)
“Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 2 and walk in the way of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us as a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God…let there be thankfulness to God.”

Thanksgiving “speaks” to the heart and into our circumstances with an unwavering trust in God and his overwhelming grace for us to flourish and persevere in life for his glory, and thus our good. In the midst of life’s challenges and struggles, we are invited to be overwhelmed by what we know and experience about God in such deep and profound ways that we are changed and overflow with deep gratitude toward Him and joyful grace toward those around us.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your wonderful deeds, past, present and more to come! We proclaim your greatness today and exult in your holy name. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship by singing the song, “Your Love Awakens Me” by Phil Wickham. (Click here)

– TR

 

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Day Four: Thanksgiving By The Spirit

Philippians 4:4-7 (NIV) – Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

With thanksgiving in every situation, we are drawing upon God’s nearness and presence to know him for who he is and all that he does. In thanksgiving we can fully want what God desires to be what is done in the midst of our overwhelming moments. And the Lord’s nearness becomes for us a tangible assurance that the overwhelming majesty of God and his reign is the overwhelming reality for the circumstance or situation we are dealing with or facing.

We are empowered by the Spirit to respond to these moments from a heart overwhelmed with thankfulness to the Lord. It’s in, by, and through the Spirit that we can be thankful and live with thanksgiving in all circumstances.

Prayer: Our Father, thank you for the Holy Spirit’s empowering presence! We humbly ask for the filling of the Spirit today to live thankful and faithful in all that we do. In every situation, by the Spirit, in the Spirit, and through the Spirit. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship by singing the song, “Open The Gates” by Vertical Worship. (Click here)

– TR

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Day Three: Always Giving Thanks

Ephesians 5:18-20 (NIV) – Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, 20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“It [thanksgiving] is a humble acceptance that enables us to truly grasp God’s overwhelming presence and concern for us in those moments. And therefore to have a grateful heart and express that gratitude to Him, confidently and willingly trusting in His sovereignty.” [Karen McMahon, When It’s Hard To Be Thankful]

To be “always giving thanks” and “in all circumstances” is to recognize God’s detailed control of your life and align or join him in his resolution. Being overwhelmed with God fills our hearts with faith and assurance about God and what he can do. It positions us to respond in faith, to speak and live into the overwhelming circumstance about God’s sovereignty and power at work as opposed to the “self-talk” and trying to convince ourselves of perceived outcomes and scenarios.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for your amazing grace! in everything, in every detail, in every desire, and in every activity be supreme and be glorified. For the overwhelming moments today, overwhelm me with your presence and grace so that I remain faithful to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship by singing the song, “Behold (Then Sings My Soul)” by Hillsong. (Click here)

– TR

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Day Two: Under The Lordship of Christ

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 23-24 (NIV) – “Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.”

“Pauline thanksgiving points to an active and living God who will continue to work among his people. With the recognition of the sovereignty of God, we can also present all our daily needs to God since he is the Lord of all. The call to offer thanksgiving in all circumstances is therefore a call to submit all under the Lordship of Christ.” [David Pao, Thanksgiving, p. 107-108]

In thanksgiving we are responding to the overwhelming reality of the Lordship and reign of Christ over all of life, and trusting him as we walk with him as Lord in those moments. We are acknowledging God’s reign, his Lordship and care over our lives and entering to live with that reality as central to our responses.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for Jesus! We humbly turn to you today acknowledging your Lordship over our lives and in every circumstance. Empower us to revere you above all situations so your glory is revealed in us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship by singing the song, “Thank You Jesus” by Hillsong. (Click Here)

– TR

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Day One: Come Before Him With Thanksgiving

Let’s read aloud together the following Scripture and prayer:

Psalm 95:1-7a (NIV)

Come, let us sing for joy to the Lord;
    let us shout aloud to the Rock of our salvation.
2 Let us come before him with thanksgiving
    and extol him with music and song.

3 For the Lord is the great God,
    the great King above all gods.
4 In his hand are the depths of the earth,
    and the mountain peaks belong to him.
5 The sea is his, for he made it,
    and his hands formed the dry land.

6 Come, let us bow down in worship,
    let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;
7 for he is our God
    and we are the people of his pasture,
    the flock under his care.

The Lord’s Prayer

Our Father in heaven,
help us to honor your name.
May your kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us for doing wrong,
as we forgive others.
Keep us from being tempted
and protect us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power
and the glory are yours.
Now and for ever.
Amen.

Let’s worship by singing the song, “My Heart Is Overwhelmed” by Hillsong. (Click Here)

– TR

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Day 5: The Lord Is Near

Philippians 4:4-7 NIV
Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

People are often weighed down by their past or anxious about their future, preventing them from fully living in the present. That’s why God-centered thanksgiving for our past and future is important. It helps us to see our lives being centered on God by God so that we can fully live. Everything revolves around ‘The Lord is near’ in verse 5, both spatially and temporally. God’s mighty power and grace are wrapped up in his very presence in the present. Thus, thanksgiving centers on interacting with him and not inward thinking or emotions. Praying is not about what we get as the passage implies with thanksgiving happening before our requests are answered; instead, praying with thanksgiving acknowledges how we belong to God and need more of him.

Prayer: Lord, thank you that you know us and love us. We bring all our concerns to you and ask for your presence that brings peace today. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship with “Yes And Amen” by Jesus Culture (click here).

– JH

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