Day 5: Fruitfulness

Galatians 5:22 (NIV)
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness…

Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

“Believers are not called upon to summon up the strength within them, for their new way of life is supernatural, stemming from the powerful work of the Holy Spirit” (Schreiner, Galatians, 348).

“Goodwill toward other people is assumed for the new being. As elsewhere, treatment of others is grounded in God’s treatment of us” (Snodgrass, Ephesians, 252).

Prayer: Father, thank you for your kindness and your compassion, expressed to us in thousands of ways, but especially in Jesus Christ. Thank you for your Holy Spirit, whom you have given to us. Thank you for this brand new way to live, not by what we can produce, but by what the Spirit produces in us. Have your way in us, Lord! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship as we sing “Arms Open Wide” by Hillsong (click here).

-KW

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Day 4: Very Dear To Me

Philemon 15-16 (NIV)
15 Perhaps the reason he was separated from you for a little while was that you might have him back forever— 16 no longer as a slave, but better than a slave, as a dear brother. He is very dear to me but even dearer to you, both as a fellow man and as a brother in the Lord.

“This discovery of what it means to be accepted by God happens even more effectively through a discipling ministry. What people have missed at home they receive through a spiritual mother or father who unreservedly cares for them and reserves extended time just to be with them. It is a great boost to those whose spirits have been crushed by rejection and hurt to know that another person is truly committed to their welfare. Because of the many disappointments some have faced, they may not believe at first that the discipler unreservedly cares for them. But after some time, it becomes evident to them that it is true. They realize, ‘This person truly cares about me and is committed to my welfare.'” (Ajith Fernando, Discipling in a Multicultural World, 250).

Prayer: Father, may we be a place where people find that they are very dear to you as they experience true care in generosity and kindness. May forgiveness, healing, kindness and salvation overflow, and may disciples be raised up to care for others in this same way. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s welcome in the working of God’s kindness in our midst and through us as we sing “Way Maker” by Leeland (click here).

-KW

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Day 3: And Give

Matthew 10:7-8 (NIV)
7 As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ 8 Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.

Aren’t we also ones who have freely received? In God’s kindness we have received his healing, his life, his community, his Spirit, his message and our lives have been made new. And now we are called to give this message of God’s love-come-down to those God is bringing to our churches: those who come in hurt, wounded, sick, dead. May we freely give, just as we have freely received so they also may experience the kingdom of heaven with us!

Spend time today remembering how you freely received. Who invested their prayers in you? Who expressed Jesus’ love in tangible ways to you? Give thanks to God and then in that thanksgiving, give prayers to God for ones he is putting on your heart and give tangible love of Jesus to them this week.

 Prayer: Father, fill us with your Spirit’s empowering to give as joyfully and as freely and with as much kindness as you have given to us. We give what we have already received, so help us to receive afresh today so we can pour it out on our children, and on the students, the families, and the singles that you are bringing. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship as we sing “There’s Nothing That Our God Can’t Do” by Passion (click here).

-KW

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Day 2: Take

Titus 3:4-6 (NIV)
4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior

Our first action is to take this gift of kindness, love, and mercy offered to us in Christ Jesus; to hold out our hands and open wide our hearts and let his kindness wash over us completely.  The end result of this gift is our salvation and rescue and new life! May we fully take what God is offering to us today with thanksgiving.

As new creations, filled with God’s Spirit, let’s turn away from anything the world has to offer.

Prayer: Father, we respond to you, for yours is always the first action. We respond to your kindness and love towards us in Jesus Christ by fully taking in your life-transforming work of washing and renewing. We turn away from the death-giving ways of the world and open up to receive the life-giving ways from you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship as we sing “One and Only Jesus” by Vertical Worship (click here).

-KW

 

 

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Day 1: Kindness

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

Titus 3:3-7 (NIV)
3 At one time we too were foolish, disobedient, deceived and enslaved by all kinds of passions and pleasures. We lived in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another. 4 But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, 5 he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, 6 whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life. 

Ephesians 4:32 (NIV)
32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Prayer: Father, you are so kind, good, generous and loving towards me. How wonderful and marvelous that your kindness and love have appeared to me when I didn’t deserve it, and I can trust that this is how you will always treat me in Jesus Christ! Now that I belong to you, help me to treat others in the church with this kindness that comes from Jesus. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship our Savior as we sing “King of Calvary” by Matt Redman (click here).

-KW

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Day Five – The Gift of the Spirit

Romans 5:5 NIV
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.

“The strangeness of the gospel is that God’s kingdom comes not by taking but by giving: God gives himself in Son and Spirit, making us his.”1 What extravagant giving – that we receive both Son and Spirit to be forgiven and cleansed, and also reconciled to God to now live in close communion with him. The Holy Spirit is God’s empowering presence who guarantees and enables us to remain in our at-one-ment with God. He does this, as Romans 5:5 says, by pouring God’s overflowing love into our hearts so that we can daily live in it. “God’s love, played out to the full in Christ, is an experienced reality in the ‘heart’ of the believer by the presence of the Spirit.”2 Hallelujah! Today, let’s walk in humble dependence on the Spirit and be filled with the certainty of hope he gives to us.

Prayer: Father God, how good you are. Thank you that we now live in close communion with you through the gift of your Holy Spirit. Spirit of God, fill us afresh today with your supernatural faith, hope, and love. In Jesus’ name, amen.

With reverence and awe, let’s worship God with singing “This is Our God” by Hillsong (click here).

1 Kapic, KM. “Atonement.” Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, Edited by Daniel Trier, p99.

2 Fee, Gordon. God’s Empowering Presence, p496.

-JL

 

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Day Four – How Much More

Romans 5:9-10 NIV
Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life!

Today, we live in the “how much more” love of the cross. What Apostle Paul is speaking to here is the confidence and hope we now have because of what God has done so thoroughly and abundantly through Jesus Christ. “In justifying us, God has already pronounced his verdict over us. It can be neither rescinded nor changed.”1 Our “how much more” confidence is that God’s forgiveness and redemption will continue to flow and extend into every day and every area of our lives because we are those who belong forever to God. In this joy, let’s be his church who goes out to our cities and campuses to proclaim all he has accomplished for us on the cross. Let’s pray today for the love of God to overflow from us to our friends, classmates, and coworkers.

Prayer: God, help us today to be rooted and secure in your overflowing, “how much more” love. Lord, send us out to proclaim your goodness and love to those around us. We worship you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s praise the Lord with singing “This Is Amazing Grace” by Phil Wickham (click here).

1 Moo, Douglas. Romans NIVAC, p175.

-JL

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Day Three – Living in the Overflowing Love

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

“Recently we were at Niagara Falls. When you get close to the falls, you don’t see it yet, yet you feel a mist…in comparison to Jesus, the old atonement is like that. It’s the same cleansing water and in the heat of the day that love is so good. But then you get close and now you finally see the falls in all its glory. The immensity is mind boggling. A million gallons per second. This is Jesus’ atonement. That’s what we mean by God’s overflowing love. The cross was more than just God, like some kind of accountant, collecting a debt. No, it was love. It was a love that went beyond what was expected, beyond what was deserved, beyond what was required for sin.” (P. Lee)

Let’s spend time marveling in the incredible truth of Romans 5:6-8. How it is all about love – love for us was God’s motivation, his means, and his goal. Let’s live in the overflowing, “million gallons per second” love of God and be cleansed daily.

Prayer: God, with awe and thanksgiving, we receive your immense love that washes us clean. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship God with “Come and See” by Matt Redman (click here).

-JL

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Day Two – Look, the Lamb of God!

John 1:29 NIV
Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!

1 John 2:1b-2 NIV
But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

Let’s look to Jesus, the Lamb of God, in humble trust and faith today. He is our atoning sacrifice who takes away our sins, for he alone is the Righteous One. In every area that we need to experience greater cleansing and peace, may the truth of 1 John 2 encourage us that the blood of Jesus is abundantly able to cover us. “Jesus is an able advocate on our behalf because he has fully dealt with God’s wrath on our behalf. There is no punishment of sin left to fear.”1 Today, nothing needs to hinder us from freely and fully receiving the deep cleansing and new start we so long for in Jesus Christ.

Prayer: Lord, we bring our sin and our need for cleansing before you today. We look to Jesus, the Lamb of God and the atoning sacrifice that takes away our sin. May we experience the cleansing power of your blood washing over us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s rejoice that Jesus is stronger and greater than our sin and shame as we sing “Raised To Life” by Elevation Worship (click here).

1 Campbell, Constantine. 1, 2, 3 John, p54.

-JL

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Day One – Cleansed & Washed

Let’s declare and pray the following out loud together:

Hebrews 10:19-22 NIV
Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, his body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.

1 John 4:10 NIV
This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

Romans 10:8-10 NLT
“The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.

Prayer: God, thank you for your overflowing love for us. We confess, “Jesus is Lord” and believe that you raised Jesus from the dead. By your grace, we draw near to you and receive your cleansing and washing anew. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship God with singing “Nothing But the Blood” by Matt Redman (click here).

– JL

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