Day Five – Come Now, Let us Reason Together

Isaiah 1:15-18, 26b-27 (ESV)
Even though you make many prayers,
I will not listen;
your hands are full of blood.
Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean…
cease to do evil,
learn to do good…
“Come now, let us reason together, says the LORD:
though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red like crimson,
they shall become like wool…

Afterward you shall be called the city of righteousness,
the faithful city.”
Zion shall be redeemed by justice,
and those in her who repent, by righteousness.

“What does God see that we don’t? Our hands bloody? Jesus said that murder can take many forms, including anger, cutting words and unresolved relational tension (Matthew 5:21-24).

God is more ready to meet us with grace than we thought. His invitation is irresistible:  God is saying, ‘Come on, let’s talk this over. Here’s my invitation. You present your blood-red hands to me in open confession, I’ll wash you clean in the blood of Jesus, and your worship will come alive.’

We are redeemed at a cost to God that we will never understand. At the cross he put the real moral guilt of sinners onto Christ, the perfect substitute. What else can we do but repent? We need to repent of our sins every day. We need to receive afresh, with the empty hands of faith, real righteousness from Jesus Christ every day.” (Ortlund, Raymond C. Jr.  Isaiah:  God Saves Sinners.)

Prayer: Father, thank you for righteousness and redemption in Jesus. I turn to you today with empty hands of faith and ask for cleansing and righteousness afresh, that I may live like you in this world. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “Upon Him” by Matt Redman (click here).

-BR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day Four – Listen, and you will find life

John 4:15-18
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water..”
He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.”
“I have no husband,” she replied.
Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.”

“‘Intrigued by Jesus’ offer of ‘living water,’ she asks to have some. If you want to take Jesus up on his offer of running, pure water, bubbling up inside you, you will have to get rid of the stale, moldy, stagnant water you’ve been living off all this time. In her case it was her married life – or rather, her unmarried life. Jesus saw straight to the heart of what was going on.” (Wright, N.T.  John for Everyone, Part 1. p. 47)

This woman could have taken offense at Jesus’ words and felt like it was the fault of others, but those six men were not the ones standing with Jesus being offered living water. This moment was about her and Jesus. She stayed and listened and agreed with his assessment of her life.

Isaiah 55:2-3
Listen to me, and you will eat what is good.
You will enjoy the finest food.
“Come to me with your ears wide open.
Listen, and you will find life.”

Prayer: Jesus, you alone are Lord. I come to you today to listen and to live. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

As we worship the Lord in song with “I Speak Jesus” by Charity Gayle, let’s declare his name and rule over every part of our lives (click here).

-BR

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Day Three – The Gift of God – Living Water

John 4:10-15; 26
“If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”
“Sir,” the woman said, “Where can you get this living water?”
Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”
The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water…”

Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you – I am he.”

“Jesus is talking about a new life that is available through the Spirit of God. Water has become a symbol of this new reality since the beginning of the book and later will be defined as the Holy Spirit (7:37-39). Christ himself is the source of precious living water, which can transform even this woman in her isolation. It is the ‘gift’ of God.

It is…a dynamic experience that makes a life as living as the water itself… The woman in search of a well discovers that the Spirit could transform her life into a well that does not require reaching and dipping, but which roils and gurgles with water until it spills over its rim.” (Burge, Gary M. John: NIV Application Commentary. p. 94)

Prayer: Lord, we pray for those around us who are in search of water. May they discover that your Spirit can transform their lives into wells that spill over. Fill us with your Holy Spirit in our campus meetings, fall outreaches and tabling, missional groups and outreaches, workplaces, and homes – so that others may experience the Messiah. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “In Christ Alone” by Passion (click here).

-BR

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Day Two – It is Over

Song of Solomon 2:11-12
“See! The winter is past;
the rains are over and gone.
Flowers appear on the earth;
the season of singing has come….”

John 4:26
“I, the one speaking to you—I am he.”

“I still held onto the trauma and the memory of [our son’s] fight for life.  I kept reliving the grief of him being taken, the fear of him dying, and the agony of leaving our tiny baby on a breathing machine in the hospital while we slept at home.

I realized past events held me, and through prayer I took all the memories, flashbacks, and grief to the cross of Jesus.  God freed me to live in the here and now and properly celebrate our amazing God and his incredible gift to us. It was over.” (Redman, Beth.  God Knows my Name:  Never Forgotten, Forever Loved.  p. 48)

Beth Redman’s order here is crucial.  She held onto the trauma, and the result was that it felt like the past events held her.  But they did not, for when she went to the Lord in prayer, he said to her, “You can let it go,” and “It is over.”

Where do we hold onto fear?  God wants to say to us, “It is over.”  We don’t have to live in fear.  The season of singing has come, because the Messiah is here.

Ephesians 1:6
We praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.

Prayer: Lord, I praise you for the glorious grace that you have poured out on me because I belong to Jesus.  In Jesus’ name.  Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “God You’re So Good” by Passion (click here).

-BR

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Day One –The High Point of History

Let’s read aloud together the following passage, commentary quote, and prayer:

John 1:1-5, 9, 12-14
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The true light that gives light to everyone was coming into the world… To all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God— children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.

“‘The Word become flesh’… [is] the high point of history. God has become incarnate in the Word and entered this world… [It] is a mystery beyond us; we don’t fully understand it but fully rejoice as we accept it.” (Osborne, Grant R.  John:  Verse by Verse.)

Prayer: Father God, thank you for the Word become flesh that made his dwelling among us – our Lord Jesus. We rejoice today as we fully accept this truth and your presence with us by the filling of your Holy Spirit anew. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Let’s worship the Lord in song with “King Jesus” by Matt Redman (click here).

– BR

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Day Five: Evangelizing Every Part of Your Life

Then Naaman and all his attendants went back to the man of God. He stood before him and said, “Now I know that there is no God in all the world except in Israel. So please accept a gift  from your servant.”

The prophet answered, “As surely as the LORD lives, whom I serve, I will not accept a thing.” And even though Naaman urged him, he refused. (2 Kings 5.15-16)

“In thus laying these riches at Elisha’s feet, [Naaman] was giving the Lord a claim to all his property. Because Elisha waived this gift in order to prevent any misunderstanding about the true basis of salvation, we cannot deduce that the Lord has no claims on our wealth, for he does. John Wesley used to ask of new converts, ‘Has his pocket-book been converted yet?’ We cannot pay the Lord, but we can repay Him in some way, by laying all we have… at His disposal…

[Naaman] was prepared to abandon all old rivals to the Lord. He wanted to be different. This meant an end to duplicity and living for the ‘best of both worlds.’ He knew that he could not love Yahweh and bow to Rimmon… He had to go back home to a world where God was not welcomed [nor] confessed… [Elisha] was sure that the God who had so thoroughly cleaned up Naaman’s skin would have no difficulty in totally purging Naaman’s heart.” (G. Haslam, Elisha: A Sign and a Wonder, p. 137f.)

Let’s pray: Lord, You alone are God. You alone are Savior. You alone are Healer. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s sing: “I Speak Jesus” by Charity Gayle (click here).

– JP

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Day Four: The Yuck Factor

Elisha sent a messenger to say to him, “Go, wash yourself seven times in the Jordan, and your flesh will be restored and you will be cleansed.”

But Naaman went away angry and said, “I thought that he would surely come out to me and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, wave his hand  over the spot and cure me of my leprosy. Are not Abana and Pharpar, the rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters  of Israel? (2 Kings 5.10-12a)

“‘The Yuck Factor’ is my phrase to describe how a lot of sophisticated Christians react when they see certain manifestations of the Holy Spirit. They often say ‘Yuck’…God loves to offend the mind to reveal the heart! What many of us would say is ‘ridiculous’ and which ‘cannot possibly be of God’ is often what God Himself does intentionally to offend the minds of sophisticated people. God offended Naaman the leper by telling him to dip seven times in the river Jordan (2 Kings 5:10-11). He offended the world by choosing to put His Son on the cross (1 Cor. 1:18, 23). It was the reaction of people to the coming of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2:13). The list is endless. God continues to choose the foolish things of the world to confound the wise (1 Cor.1:27).” (R.T. Kendall)

Let’s pray: Lord, help us to recognize the work of your Spirit and embrace what you are doing in our lives. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s sing: “Living Hope” by Bethel (click here).

– JP

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Day Three: No Deals

“By all means, go,” the king of Aram replied. “I will send a letter to the king of Israel.” So Naaman left, taking with him ten talents of silver, six thousand shekels of gold and ten sets of clothing. The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: “With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy.” (2 Kings 5.5-6)

“Like many non-Christians he thought he could bargain with God… The man who had levered his way to the top by the force of his personality and the weight of his talents also thought that he had leverage with God… [Naaman] had been pointed very clearly in the right direction for a miraculous cure. Yet he still walks in the false thinking and deep-seated pride which thinks it has something to contribute, something to bargain with…

But the gospel reduces millionaires to the same level as a pauper on the streets. Skin-deep a man may be very wealthy and important, but deep down he is as impoverished as the rest of us and in need of the same God-given hope and help which comes free of charge of all… Salvation is free because it was purchased with the most precious substance in the universe—the blood of God’s Son… (Acts 20.28).” (G. Haslam, Elisha: A Sign and a Wonder, p. 127f.)

Let’s pray: Lord, we praise you for our salvation, for what you accomplished on the cross for us. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s sing: “By the Grace of God” by Tim Hughes (click here).

– JP

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Day Two: Great Man, Greater Problem

“Naaman was a Gentile and is described as a great man of position, prestige, and power in the nation of Aram. He was a victorious commander in the army, a war hero and highly respected, and the source of his victory and success was God’s favor on his life.

However, Naaman had a grave problem. He was a leper… There was no treatment or cure for leprosy. It led to death and Naaman knew this. There was nothing that Naaman could do. Beneath his great achievements and military armor, Naaman knew his real condition. He was powerless and he was dying. Naaman needed God’s intervention and healing touch…”

Now bands of raiders from Aram had gone out and had taken captive a young girl from Israel, and she served Naaman’s wife. She said to her mistress, “If only my master would see the prophet who is in Samaria! He would cure him of his leprosy.” (2 Kings 5:2-3)

“This young servant girl knew that there was a way for the impossible to be possible. She knew God and her boldness to exercise her faith about Elisha was so compelling that it moved Naaman to believe her.

We can experience God’s healing touch in our most desperate and frustrating times by being washed by God and knowing who he is. We embrace this grace reality by obeying God’s grace embracing us.” (Carol Han)

Let’s pray: Lord, may I experience your healing touch today. Wash me, that I may be healed. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s sing: “Wellspring” by Leeland (click here).

– JP

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Day One: He is Him

Let’s read aloud together the following passage, confession and prayer:

“The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.
(Luke 4.18-19 NIV)

“The Savior is working mightily among men [and women], every day He is invisibly persuading numbers of people all over the world, both within and beyond the Greek-speaking world, to accept His faith and be obedient to His teaching. Can anyone, in face of this, still doubt that He has risen and lives, or rather that He is Himself the Life? …This is the work of One Who lives, not of one dead; and, more than that, it is the work of God.”
(Athanasius, On the Incarnation)

Father in heaven,
We are in awe of you and how you love us.
Jesus, our Lord and Savior, teach, train and disciple us.
Alive and working in our midst, bringing us into greater freedom, wholeness and love.
Fill us with your Spirit in this moment.
Fill us with your life, joy and power.
In Jesus’ name, amen.

Let’s sing: “Way Maker” by Sinach (click here).

– JP

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