Day Five: Even though you do not see him

1 Peter 1:3, 8-9 (NIV, NLT) – Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead.
Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

“Unlike Peter and others of the first generation who had seen Jesus, they have neither seen him in the past not do they see him at present… Yet despite this apparent deprivation, they in no way come behind the first generation of disciples…, for they love and believe on Jesus. This paradox of faith without sight is often found in the NT, for as soon as the church expanded… it was the experience of most Christians. The really important thing is not what they can see, but whom they love and are committed to, even though they do not see him.

“[This] causes them to rejoice. The verb is present, for Peter’s point is that in the midst of outward trials we can already experience by faith and rejoice in our coming Lord.”  [Davids, Peter H. The New International Commentary on the New Testament:  The First Epistle of Peter.]

Let’s thank and praise God for the truth of this passage in our lives. Today, let’s love Jesus, believe in Him, and rejoice that we are receiving our salvation. Let’s declare the truth and worship with this song, “Who You Say I Am” (Hillsong).

– BR


Day Four: One Day…

1 Corinthians 13:12-13 – For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

“It is not a distorted image that we have in Christ through the Spirit; but it is as yet indirect, not complete… Our present ‘vision’ of God, as great as it is, is as nothing when compared to the real thing that is yet to be; it is like the difference between seeing a reflected image in a mirror and seeing a person face to face.

“[Faith, hope and love] together embrace the whole of Christian existence, as believers live out the life of the Spirit in the present age, awaiting the consummation… They are on their way ‘home,’ destined for an existence in the presence of God that is ‘face to face.’  And they have ‘love’ for one another as they live this life of faith and hope in the context of a community of brothers and sisters…  In the present life of the church these three remain:  faith, hope, and love.” [Fee, Gordon. The New International Commentary on the New Testament:  The First Epistle to the Corinthians]

Let’s pray that we will live in faith, hope, and love given by the Spirit. Let’s thank God for what will come – We shall see face to face! – as we worship to this song, One Day” (Matt Redman).

– BR


Day Three: You were doing it to me!

Matthew 25:31-40 (NLT) – ‘…when the Son of Man comes in his glory… he will separate the people…
The King will say to those on his right, “Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.”
37 Then these righteous ones will reply, “Lord, when..?”
40 And the King will say, “I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

1 John 4:12, 20 (NIV) – No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and his love is brought to full expression in us…If we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?

“We cannot separate our relation with God from our relation with people.  To experience the compassion of God makes one a medium of compassion…  For those in Christ the origin and recipient of every act is Christ himself.” [Snodgrass, K. Stories with Intent. p. 562]

Receive again the gravity and joy of the truth that we love our Lord Jesus by loving His people. Let’s pray for ourselves and our churches – that we would love Jesus.

Let’s worship and rely upon His love for us as we sing, “This is How We Know” (Matt Redman).

– BR


Day Two – Strangers on Earth

Psalm 119:17-19, 97 (NIV)

Be good to your servant while I live,
that I may obey your word.
Open my eyes that I may see
wonderful things in your law.
I am a stranger on earth;
do not hide your commands from me.

Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.

How can we continue and increase in loving Jesus by loving His word?

We can pray with the psalmist, “God, help me obey your word.”

We can orient our lives as strangers on earth.  When His kingdom comes in full, then we will see Jesus – actually, really see Him with our eyes!  Then, we will be fully at home, we will fully know, and be fully transformed.  Until then, we are strangers on earth.  It is not our home because we are waiting to see Jesus, our Lord.

And so we cry out, “God, open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your word, because I need to see the image of Your Son that you have for me today, so I can live in this land that is not my home.”

Today, let’s pray and commit ourselves to God’s word as the psalmist did.  Let’s also pray according to these verses for the reading, teaching, sharing, and proclamation of the word that will happen in our churches and ministries this week.

Let’s worship with this song, “Build my Life” by Housefires.

– BR


Day One: Blessed are those…

John 20:24-29 –Thomas… was not with the disciples when Jesus came…
He said, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.”
A week later… Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”
Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!”
Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

Many times I have read this passage and “found myself” in it in Thomas’ shoes. I pray for, imagine, and experience, Jesus coming to me, showing Himself to me and saying, “Stop doubting and believe.”

Yet now, I see that I have been part of this passage all along in Jesus’ pronouncement – “blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”  This is me, this is us, this is His church in each century since these words were spoken. Jesus had us in mind at this moment, and named us blessed ones, who believe in Him without seeing.

Let’s thank God for this blessing.  Pray that our churches will abound with His presence revealed, that others may “see” the unseen Christ, believe in Him, and live this blessing with us.

– BR