Day Five: I Belong therefore Embrace

Matthew 22:37-39 NIV
37 Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.

1 John 4:9-11 NIV
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

“For us, it was in the embrace of the Father, in the embrace of brothers and sisters who loved us as ‘dear friend.’ It was in the embrace of spiritual fathers and mothers who loved us as ‘dear child’ … that we experienced healing and wholeness. It was in that embrace that God met us in that way.” (NYE, Stephen Ramos)

Prayer: Father, we praise you for bringing us to the end of 2023 with “I Belong” to propel us more deeply into your embrace of healing love. Help us to receive your greater embrace so that others may be embraced by you and know your healing and wholeness for your kingdom and glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship the Lord who reached for us and embraces us completely at every moment by singing “Son of Suffering” by Matt Redman (click here).

-CH

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Day Four: Participation

Galatians 2:20b (NT Wright’s translation)
And the life I do still live in the flesh, I live within the faithfulness of the son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

“Who then are we? We are the Messiah’s people, with his life now at work in us. And, since the central thing about him is his loving faithfulness, the central thing about us, the only thing in fact that defines us, is our own loving faithfulness, the glad response of faith to the God who has sent his son to die for us. This is the very heart of Christian identity” (Tom Wright, Paul for Everyone: Galatians and Thessalonians).

“The living within the faithfulness of the son of God is about participation in the life and faithfulness of Christ. How wonderful it is that we get to live within the faithfulness of Christ lived out in real time. This is a reason for celebration because of Christ’s redeeming of each person from self-focus and self-destruction to now living with full confidence and hope because of the faithfulness of Christ and we are invited to participate in that loving God and loving others because we belong to him.” (P. Mark Kim)

Prayer: Father, thank you for calling us into participation in the life and faithfulness of Christ. Help us say “Yes!” to your life at work in us that makes living for you by faith possible, powerful and full of hope. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship our Savior with singing, “I Have a Savior” sung by CeCe Winans (click here).

– CH

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Day Three: Yet Not I

Galatians 2:20a (N.T. Wright’s translation)
I have been crucified with the Messiah. I am, however, alive—but it isn’t me, it’s the Messiah who lives in me.

I Belong to You (Elijah Oyelade)
Chorus:
I live, yet not I
You are the One alive in me
The life that I live is not my own

I belong to You

“Those who belong to the Messiah are in the Messiah, so that what is true of him is true of them. The roots of this idea are in the Jewish beliefs about the king. The king represents his people… His point here is quite simple: all who are ‘in the Messiah’ are the true people of God” (Tom Wright, Paul for Everyone: Galatians and Thessalonians).

“…being crucified with Christ also means that we are resurrected with him, in the way of being ‘born again’ the old life is gone and the new life has come through Christ. We are living… but it isn’t me, but Christ lives in me, or the KJV ‘yet, not I’ the version that Elijah Oyelade uses in his song… When God says that we are his, we are truly his!” (P. Mark Kim)

Prayer: Father, thank you that who we are is new resurrection life, that is, yet not I but Christ lives in me! Fill us with your resurrection power to live as your people in the reality of what is true of Jesus is true of us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship as we sing “Resurrection Power” by Chris Tomlin (click here).

-CH

 

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Day Two: All My Life I Give

Romans 14:7-8 (NIV)
For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord.  So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

I Belong to You (Elijah Oyelade)
Unto You Jesus
All my life I give
I belong to You

I am Yours for life

“These lyrics from Elijah Oyelade capture a few distinct and important connections: In the chorus, the reference of belonging is tied in with the surrendered life, ‘all my life I give’ and this surrendering is a wonderfully freeing and saving experience and reality. The exchange of surrendering of self is with now belonging to God. Now this exchange is very unequal… Our surrendering is only for our good and we get back so much, much more! It is entirely unfair because we get infinitely a better deal on this exchange for trying to grasp for our own lives, while we are offered an infinitely better and truly fulfilling life in Christ!” (P. Mark Kim)

This song speaks of God’s grace and our response of freedom, and a life prayer reflecting our identity that overflows in us from Jesus himself.

Prayer: Father, thank you for your grace. Fill me afresh with your Spirit. Unto you Jesus, all my life I give, I belong to you, I am yours for life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

In worship and prayer, let’s sing “I Belong to You” by Elijah Oyelade (click here).

– CH

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Day One: We Belong to the Lord!

Let’s read aloud the following passages and prayer:

Ezekiel 36:26-28 NIV
26 I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. 28 Then you will live in the land I gave your ancestors; you will be my people, and I will be your God.

1 Thessalonians 5:8-11 NIV
8 But since we belong to the day, let us be sober, putting on faith and love as a breastplate, and the hope of salvation as a helmet. 9 For God did not appoint us to suffer wrath but to receive salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ. 10 He died for us so that, whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with him. 11 Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.

Romans 14:8 NIV
If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord.  So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.

Prayer: Father, thank you for giving us salvation through Jesus. Whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord! Hallelujah! In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship by singing “The Praise is Yours” by Matt Redman (click here).

– CH

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Day 5: Great Reversals To Come

Let us proclaim these verses out loud together:

Psalm 37:23-28a (NIV)
23 The Lord makes firm the steps
    of the one who delights in him;
24 though he may stumble, he will not fall,
    for the Lord upholds him with his hand.

25 I was young and now I am old,
    yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken
    or their children begging bread.
26 They are always generous and lend freely;
    their children will be a blessing.

27 Turn from evil and do good;
    then you will dwell in the land forever.
28 For the Lord loves the just
    and will not forsake his faithful ones.

As we believe and live in Psalm 37, may there be many more testimonies of great reversals arising from our churches. May our churches be built up for God’s glory. By his grace, may there be greater worship – more prayers, more living in scripture, more evangelism and discipleship in our churches.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for the reversals and resolutions you have done in our lives. Thank you for this new season of great reversals you are doing in our churches. May there be a response of greater worship in loving you and loving others in our churches. May you receive the glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship and sing to “Your Cross Changes Everything” by Passion ft. Matt Redman (click here).

-AS

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Day 4: For the Good of Others

Genesis 50:19-21 (NIV)
19 But Joseph said to them, “Don’t be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. 21 So then, don’t be afraid. I will provide for you and your children.” And he reassured them and spoke kindly to them.

“Whatever we intend for evil, God intends for good. As God reveals this simple truth about himself, many other attributes fall into place. His sovereignty, his love, his mercy, his justice, his faithfulness, his goodness—all of these are revealed about God as we stand on the sidelines of Genesis and watch him work in the world. Moses’ audience not only gains a perspective on their history; they gain a perspective on their years of slavery, on their rebellion in the desert, and on the intimidating Canaanites. Evil cannot triumph. Blessing will prevail. Obstacles will melt away. God’s revelation of his mastery and control of his creation is the message of Genesis.” [John Walton. Genesis. NIVAC.]

God is sovereign and always working out reversals in the world according to his salvation plan. He is always weaving our lives into his great salvation plan in unexpected ways for our good and for the good of others. We don’t always understand it all, but we can believe that God is always good. Let us receive this truth today.

Prayer: Father, you are sovereign over everything. I fully surrender to your greater story. Bring reversal in my life for my good and for the good of others. May your salvation plan be done in me and through me. May you receive all the glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship and sing to “You Hold It All Together” by Maverick City x  UPPERROOM (click here).

-AS

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Day 3: Be Strong and Take Heart

Psalm 27:13-14 (NIV)
13 I remain confident of this:
    I will see the goodness of the Lord
    in the land of the living.
14 Wait for the Lord;
    be strong and take heart
    and wait for the Lord.

“One of the biggest struggles with God’s great reversal is that we don’t know how it will happen or when it will happen. It is the cry of the psalmist that asks ‘How long?’ We are called to more than just ‘getting over’ the painful experiences of life. We are called to experience God working out all things for our good, and the good of others. The great reversal of Joseph and Jesus belongs to us as well through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit. Every day, the Spirit can take that which was meant for harm and turn it around for our good. For the things that feel unresolved, the psalmist declares, we will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living, take heart and wait for the Lord.” [P. Ed’s message write up]

Let’s intercede for those you know that need this resolution and turnaround. Let’s believe in God’s promise that they will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

Prayer: Father, fill us with your Holy Spirit as we wait on you today. We ask for the Spirit’s power for full resolution and reversals for those we are praying for. May they see your goodness in the land of the living. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship and sing to “I Will See The Lord (Land Of The Living)” by Ryan Kennedy, Corey Voss & The Emerging Sound (click here).

-AS

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Day 2: The Spirit Intercedes For My Good

Romans 8:26-28 (NIV)
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

“Behind and much deeper than our own cries to God for help is the Holy Spirit, who is not only groaning more deeply than us on our behalf but also is doing so knowing the will of God.  It is on this basis, the Spirit’s deep intercession, that we can be absolutely certain that ‘in all things God works for the good of those who love him’…It is God who turns everything around, and not fate or chance…the present ‘good’ that results from the Spirit’s work in us and God’s action on our behalf, and it is also the final joy and peace that will be ours in eternity. It is also critical to realize that the ‘good’ does not mean we will get whatever we want but rather what is best for us in accordance with God’s will.” [Grant R. Osborne. Romans: Verse by Verse.]

Let us be strengthened by the truth that the Spirit intercedes for our great reversal. The Spirit intercedes for us through wordless groans, in accordance with God’s will. May we trust that God’s will works in all things for our good.

Prayer:  Lord, may the Spirit groan prayers in me and through me according to your will. I surrender my own will and trust you are working in all things from my past, present, and future for my good. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship and sing to “It Is Well With My Soul” by Matt Redman (click here).

-AS

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Day 1: The Greatest Reversal

Let us read these verses out loud together:

Romans 8:11 (NLT)
11 The Spirit of God, who raised Jesus from the dead, lives in you. And just as God raised Christ Jesus from the dead, he will give life to your mortal bodies by this same Spirit living within you.

John 16:33 (NIV)
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”

The greatest reversal is the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. When all seemed lost, Jesus resurrected on the third day. What the enemy intended for harm, God intended for good and for the saving of many lives. The same Spirit of God who raised Jesus from the dead now lives in us. May we continue to experience the full blessing and favor of this great reversal today through the Spirit in this already, but not yet world. In response to his love and goodness, let us live out our calling today by loving him and loving others.

Prayer: Jesus, we thank you for the great reversal that saved us. Once we too were dead, but now we are alive. Fill us with your Holy Spirit today. May this reality impact us deeply. Let your Spirit give us life as we face our current situations, so that we may respond in greater worship to you. May you receive the glory. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s worship and sing to “God, You’re So Good” by Passion, Kristian Stanfill, ft. Melodie Malone (click here).

-AS

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