Day Four: Life of Thanksgiving, Life of Transformation

Ephesians 5:4 NLT – Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.

“Thanksgiving is the basic attitude of the Christian, for it forces attention on God, his grace and his desires rather than on one’s own desires. When we acknowledge God and give thanks for life from him, responsibility to him is established and life is ordered away from self-centeredness and sin.
The practice of thanksgiving is itself transforming. It is difficult for a person to be thankful and spiteful at the same time. It is difficult for a person to be thankful for his or her spouse and at the same time to be desiring another person—not impossible, but difficult.”
[Klyne Snodgrass, NIVAC: Ephesians]

For Apostle Paul, “thanksgiving” serves as a catch-all description of the language, behavior, and life perspective of the Christian. Giving thanks is the daily practical alternative to living our past and is a powerful antidote to sin.

What does Snodgrass mean when he writes “the practice of thanksgiving is itself transforming”? What are practical ways we can give thanks today? What might it look like to give thanks with our lives in our workplaces and campuses?

Prayer: “Thank you Lord that today we are people of thankfulness because of what you have done on the cross. Transform us daily as we live out thankfulness in our churches and cities. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

Let’s worship to “This We Know” by Passion (Click here).

– LL


Day Three: By the Grace of God

1 Corinthians 15:8-10 – For I am the least of the apostles. I am not worthy to be called an apostle because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me was not useless. [Translation by Klyne Snodgrass]

“When Paul said, ‘By the grace of God I am what I am,’ he made the most freeing statement in all the world. This is not a statement of arrogance or distance from others. Paul is not saying, ‘This is just who I am, and leave me alone.’ It is not a statement of one who takes grace lightly or does not know the significance of Christian faith. It is a statement describing the experience of one whose life has been turned around, reordered, and given responsibility he did not deserve.”
[Klyne Snodgrass, Who God Says You Are]

We often think of God giving us grace and our role is to respond, but Paul sees it as more than that – it is God’s grace that generates the response in us. Grace is not passive, but powerfully active at work in our lives. How does this perspective of God’s grace shape our expectations and give us hope about personal healing and transformation?

Prayer: “Thank you Lord that your grace is not wimpy or ineffectual. We are free to say ‘I am what I am’ because your grace is powerfully at work in our lives. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Here I Bow” by Bethel Music (Click here).

– LL


Day Two: You (All) Are Awake Today

Ephesians‬ ‭5:8-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬ – For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.

As those who are awake in Christ’s light we now wake up, stand up, run, and jump. We live and operate in ways that were previously unimaginable and impossible. We are no longer defined and confined by our past hurts and mistakes.

But we can hit the snooze button by holding onto bitterness, guilt, and sin. It is a habit we brought from our old life in the dark when change was impossible. So when we hear you all are adopted, powered up, and rooted, we think: “wow that sounds great, I can’t wait for that day when that’s true for me.” And we find ourselves waiting for some future time when God’s word will finally be personally true for our lives.

But this breaks God’s heart because He says today “live as children of light.” Imagine my 8-year-old son saying, “I can’t wait for that day when I’ll have a father.” This is heartbreaking because I’m ready to be his father now! So today as we hear “live as children of light,” it is an invitation to embrace who we are and be embraced by God today.

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, in the light of Christ we are light. No more hitting the snooze button. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

– LL


Day One: Live Who You Are

Ephesians‬ ‭5:8-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬ – For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord.

“The first half of the letter [of Ephesians] is completely indicative. Meaning Paul outlines truths, facts, and writes authoritative statements on who God is, what He has done, and who we are. Paul says: This is the truth about God. This is the gospel of what God has done. Then, he says this is your identity: adopted children of God, His masterpiece, His people. All of this comes before Paul writes any imperatives or commands. Identity comes first because who we are—and who we think we are—defines how we live.”
[Brad Watson, Ephesians: How Jesus Creates a New People in a New World]

Paul does not write “you are part light and part dark,” nor does he write “you are gradually more light.” What does this say about the relationship between our old past life of darkness and our new present life in the light? As Christians, what power does our past have in defining who we are?

Prayer: “Heavenly Father, thank you we are now ‘light’ in the Lord. Through the power of the Holy Spirit we can and do live as children of light! In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Who You Say I Am” by Hillsong Worship (Click here).

– LL


Day Five: Authenticity Within The Community

Ephesians 4:31-32 – Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

“Christian faith transforms identity because it transforms relations… It is no accident that the New Testament lists of sins to avoid are lists of community-destroying acts and the lists of virtues to embrace are lists of community-enhancing acts.” [Snodgrass, Who God Says You Are, 93]

It’s important to note that these verses takes place within the body of Christ. It is in community that we learn to live as imitators of God, living out our genuine faith. We are not to simply get rid of our old ways, but made completely new in how we relate to one another. Let’s pray that our relationships with one another will become more authentic as we imitate God, reflecting and embodying God’s love and that it will overflow onto others outside our church as well.

Let us worship to the song “Lord I Need You” by Matt Maher (Click here).

– DW


Day Four: Authenticity Through The Holy Spirit

Galatians 5:16-18 – So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 

“God has authenticated us as those who are truly his own. To put that in another way, it is as we live the life of God empowered by his Holy Spirit that we demonstrate ourselves to be the authentic people of God.” [Fee, God’s Empowering Presence, 716]

Walking and imitating God is an ongoing process. Imitating God and walking in the way of love is a daily decision and does not need to be grand gesture. It is a simple choice to walk in the path that God has already set for us in Christ. By sealing us with his Holy Spirit, we can walk in ways that are like God. It is the Holy Spirit that daily empowers and enables us to imitate God. Let’s pray that God will empower us through His Holy Spirit to walk in the path that God has already set for us in Christ.

Let us worship to the song “Anointing” by Jesus Culture (Click here).

– DW


Day Three: The “How-To”

Philippians 4:8 (NIV) – Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Rather than focusing on right or wrong behavior, how we can practically imitate God is to imitate His character. We need to imitate God’s character to walk in his way of love. And practically, we can focus on any one attribute of God. One aspect is to live holy because God is holy – God has set us apart for himself, so we are to live as those who are set apart for his purposes. Holiness is not just about distancing ourselves from things (or people) that pull us away from living for God. It’s more about drawing near to God. Let’s pray that God will help us to identify those things in our lives that pull us away from him.

Another aspect is having the mind of Christ. Our minds are battlefields. Rather than fighting futile battles that goes on in our minds, let’s pray that our thought life and minds will be renewed and centered around God and his purposes.

Let us worship to the song “Don’t Ever Stop” by Passion (Click here).

– DW


Day Two: Imitate God

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NASB) – Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.

“If humanity is created in God’s image and likeness, then God’s character is the primary role model deserving commitment from us. Paul’s instruction in Ephesians 5:1 for believers to imitate God at first glance may seem a bit outrageous, but if humans are created in God’s image, then what makes better sense? Much about God we cannot imitate – his power, his knowledge, or eternal being – but imitating God’s character is the most important part of our identity formation.” [Snodgrass, Who God Says You Are, 147-148]

As plainly as these verses say to be imitators of God – we can simply turn and obey, because we have Christ in us. We imitate God because he is our loving Father and we want to be more like him. We imitate God because he loves us. Let’s pray that our life response to him will be to say yes, and begin to take steps toward imitating him more in all areas of our lives.

Let us worship to the song “More Like Jesus” by Passion (Click here).

– DW


Day One: Beloved Children

Ephesians 5:1-2 (NIV) – Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children 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.

What validates us as genuine and authenticates Christians is Christ’s love for us and in us. God calls us his beloved children, and his ultimate demonstration of his love for us is in his son, Jesus laying down his life as a sacrifice. This is our starting point. It’s not about what we feel, think, hope for, or desire. It’s about what God has already done for us in Christ and who God says we are – that is the absolute truth for us!

Let us pray with thanksgiving that we are so loved by God, and our lives are determined and authenticated by God’s love for us in Christ first and foremost.

Let us worship to the song “Love Won’t Give Up” by Elevation (Click here).

– DW


Day Five: We All Are The You All To The Next Us

Hebrews 12:1-2 – 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. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

“Therefore, since there is a ‘you all’ of a cloud of witnesses, let ‘us’ do this, so that we can become the ‘you all’ to another generation of ‘us.’ And the final word is that Jesus is THE witness who is seated at the right hand of God, and THE witness is also the One who began our story and will bring it to the purposed and promised conclusion as told to us in Ephesians 1.4-6.”
[Anne Kim]

Ephesians 4:1-6 – For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.

This transmission of faith has been going on for generations and generations. It’s not about transmission of information… it’s about real-life stories of faith, being faith-full and impacting the next generation.

Let’s sing, let it rise, come on! “We Praise You” by Matt Redman (Click here).

– JP