Day 5: Lord, I Need You

Psalm 63: 1, 5b (NIV)
1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
5b I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

Psalm 63 is more than just a description of one who meets God, it is a prayer. For those of us who need to personally and intimately experience God’s crazy love today, let’s pray the same words as the psalmist: “You, God, are my God, earnestly I seek you.”

Our whole being longs for God and that includes our lips, our vocal cords, and our breath, so let’s vocalize this prayer throughout the day. After all, we need God in the morning, we need him in the middle of the day, and we need him in the evening. In these moments of prayer, the Lord comes and we are reminded that we are loved by him, he is for us, and he is involved in our every day. His love reorders our thoughts and reshapes our day so that we can live a life-response of love to God.

In verse 5, how does the psalmist describe the experience of God’s presence? What does the verse say is the psalmist’s response?

Prayer: “God, you are my God, earnestly I seek you. I thirst and long for you Lord. I need your love to live today. May your love reorder my thoughts and reshape my day. May I live a life-response of love to you today. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Lord, I Need You” (click here) by Matt Maher.

-LL

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Day 4: Satisfied and Thirsty for More

Psalm 63: 1, 5b (NIV)
1 You, God, are my God,
earnestly I seek you;
I thirst for you,
my whole being longs for you,
in a dry and parched land
where there is no water.
5b I will be fully satisfied as with the richest of foods;
with singing lips my mouth will praise you.

A prayer inspired by Psalm 63:
“O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need for further grace… O God, the Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing; I thirst to be made more thirsty still. Show me Thy glory, I pray Thee, so that I may know Thee indeed. Begin in mercy a new work of love within me.” (A.W. Tozer, Pursuit of God)

How does this prayer from A.W. Tozer give us insight into how we can grow in love and desire for God? What happens to those who are satisfied by God?

In daily practice, we can grow in love for Jesus by taking every opportunity God offers us to pursue him. What opportunities in the church is God giving you today to grow in love for him (eg. be part of small group, serve others, participate in prayer meetings, etc)?

Prayer: Let’s pray that we would be open and ready to take the new opportunities God is calling us to pursue him. Let’s pray for a growing love for Jesus both personally and in our churches. “Lord, your love satisfies me and makes me thirst for more of you! In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”

-LL

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Day 3: An Extravagant Response

Luke 7:37-38 (NIV)
37 A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. 38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

“This woman no longer cared what other people thought. She was so in love with Jesus that she forgot herself completely… She proceeded to pour out her perfume, anointing her Savior’s feet with scented oil. This was an expensive gift, almost certainly the most precious thing she owned, but she poured it all on the feet of Jesus. He was the treasure of her soul.” (Ryken, Loving Jesus, p.618)

Jesus says to those that are watching this moment unfold: “I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown.” Is this woman’s extravagant act earning Jesus’ forgiveness or is it a response to Jesus’ forgiveness?

When we experience God’s extravagant love we respond with extravagant love for him. What are concrete ways we can we express our love for Jesus today? How does love for God shape how we are to serve in the church, pray, read God’s word, and care for others?

Prayer: “Thank you God for your forgiveness! May I live today in response to your extravagant love. You are the treasure of my soul. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Worthy Is Your Name” (click here) by Elevation Worship.

-LL

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Day 2: Your Love is Better Than Life

Psalm 63 (NIV)
3 Because your love is better than life,
my lips will glorify you.
4 I will praise you as long as I live,
and in your name I will lift up my hands.

“Sometimes when I come home from work, my little girl greets me by running out to the driveway and jumping into my arms before I can even get out of the car… My own love and desire for my kids’ love is so strong that it opened my eyes to how much God desires and loves us. My daughter’s expression of love for me and her desire to be with me is the most amazing thing… Through this experience, I came to understand that my desire for my children is only a faint echo of God’s great love for me and for every person He made. I am just an earthly, sinful father, and I love my kids so much it hurts. How could I not trust a heavenly, perfect Father who loves me infinitely more than I will ever love my kids?” (Francis Chan, Crazy Love)

How does the love of this dad, as imperfect as he is, give us a greater understanding of God’s intense and perfect love for us?

The word “love” in this Psalm is the Hebrew word hesed, a multifaceted term that speaks to God’s loving-kindness, goodness, unmerited favor, loyalty, and steadfast love. How do these aspects of God’s hesed love give us a fuller picture of the “love that is better than life”?

Prayer: “Thank you Lord that your love is the love of the perfect Father. Today I will live confidently in your love as I face the challenges of school, work, and life. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”

Let’s worship to “Jesus Only You” (click here) by Martin Smith.

-LL

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Day 1: More Than the Air I Breathe

Psalm 84:2 (NIV)
2 My soul yearns, even faints,
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh cry out
for the living God.

“Have you ever been under water for a period of time that is longer than you had expected? You know, as the time ticks away, how desperate you become to reach the surface and breathe the air. The greater the time you are under water, the more you long for a breath of air until that desire overwhelms you, and you rush to get to the surface as rapidly as possible. You have no other thoughts but quenching your need for air. That is what it means to long for God, to feel unfulfilled without Him.”
(Billy Graham, Hope for Each Day Morning and Evening)

The experience of meeting God and “breathing” his presence shows us what it’s like to live and breathe fully as Christians. We realize “Oh, this is normal! This is real living!” That experience of “breathing” teaches us the best place to be is to be with God.

In what ways do we get distracted and neglect our urgent need for the Lord’s presence? What are practical ways we can seek God today and be satisfied in him?

Prayer: “Lord, may I seek you and be satisfied in you today. There is no One else that I need and want. Thank you for your presence in my life and in our church. In Jesus’ Name I pray. Amen.”

-LL

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Day 5: Fitted for a Post-Sneaker World

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes… Stand firm then…with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace… [Take] the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6.10, 15, 17)

“Spiritual warfare is not only defensive; it also takes the offensive. Paul called the soldiers of Christ to advance on enemy territory… [T]he body of Christ plunders Satan’s kingdom by proclaiming the promise of divine rescue to captives in the kingdom of darkness.

“There is one part of the soldier’s gear that is not a weapon, but it is a furnishing that enables the soldier to take an offensive posture—good footwear. A typical soldier would journey for miles as his army advanced… The footgear of the Christian needs to be ‘the readiness to announce the Good News…’

“[T]he only offensive weapon…is the sword (Eph 6.17)… [T]he primary aggressive action the Christian is called to take in the world is to spread the gospel—the good news of salvation… The gospel represents ‘God’s power to rescue people from [the devil’s] tyranny.’ The whole course of Paul’s ministry is a model of this aggressive proclamation. The church should follow Paul’s lead.” (C. Arnold, Powers of Darkness)

How can you get geared up for this “battle”? Don’t just take a defensive posture in the spiritual battle, but ask the Lord to help you take the offensive as well! Let’s sing “Won’t Stop Now” by Elevation Worship (click here)

-JP

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Day 4: Different Fight, Same Result

WE DON’T FIGHT FOR VICTORY,
WE FIGHT FROM VICTORY.
(C. Ingram)

“You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.” (1 John 4.4)

“For everyone born of God overcomes the world… Who is it that overcomes the world? Only the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.” (1 John 5.4)

“They triumphed over him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony; they did not love their lives so much as to shrink from death.” (Revelation 12.11)

“Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” (James 4.7)

Jesus has already won the victory… victory over death, victory over sin, victory over condemnation, victory over powers of darkness, victory over sickness, victory over pain… JESUS HAS ALREADY WON THE VICTORY!

As long as we fight, we will win. We fight from Christ’s victory. Write the above verses in your journals multiple times. Memorize them and let the reality of what Christ has accomplished for us sink into your mind, heart and soul. According to these verses, proclaim who you are and what you have in Christ.

Let’s pray: “Lord, I believe that Jesus is the Son of God! Jesus, you have overcome the world. I stand on your victory! Nothing can overcome me when I stand on your victory! In Jesus’ name, Amen.” Let’s sing “Victory is Yours” by Bethel (click here)

-JP

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Day 3: Hoodwinked, Bamboozled, Led Astray, Run Amok, Flat Out Deceived

“We Must Respect Our Foe but Not Fear Him… we must become acutely aware of his methods but not be preoccupied with them… we give him too much credit—or give God too little credit—if we fear him… Our preoccupation should be entirely on God and not on our adversary or ourselves. We do, however, need to be aware of the enemy’s strategies. Like the defense preparing for the Super Bowl, we can prepare for demonic attacks…

“When we read these passages about Satan’s activity, however, it’s clear that the issues are usually things like unwillingness to forgive, bitterness, anger, deceived minds, and any other attitude that can break a marriage, split a church, cause depression, turn people inward, and destroy our bodies with ulcers and anxieties… things we encounter every day. That makes our knowledge of the invisible war a necessary and practical understanding for getting through normal life situations.” (C. Ingram, The Invisible War)

Paul talks about forgiveness with the Corinthian church “in order that Satan might not outwit us. For we are not unaware of his schemes” (2 Corinthians 2.11).

Examine your life like a football coach looking at game film. In what areas of your life can you perceive the enemy’s influence? Unusually disturbing circumstances at work? Constant strife and quarrelling in important relationships? Inexplicable feelings of inadequacy leaving you paralyzed? Disturbing stray thoughts while reading God’s Word?

Don’t be outwitted. Proclaim God’s truth and worship the Lord with the help of His Spirit – let’s sing “Surrounded” by Upper Room (click here).

-JP

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Day 2: The Death of Death

“The cross of Christ is the pivotal point of salvation history. This is true, not only in the sense that Christ made satisfaction for sin through his blood, but also in the fact that Christ won a decisive victory over the evil powers… The death and resurrection of Christ marks the beginning of their demise. Christ won a once-and-for-all victory over the powers with eternal repercussions…

“God Disarmed the Powers. Christ’s death and resurrection deprived the evil forces of any effective power against himself or the members of his body, the church…

“How did Christ’s death and resurrection accomplish this disarming? Precisely because the powers could not deter Christ from making a satisfaction for sin. By offering his life and spilling his blood, Christ could extend forgiveness of sin to his people. The powers thus lost their chief mechanism for holding people in bondage…

“The strongest weapon in Satan’s arsenal [death] was not sufficient for conquering Christ. Neither will it prove sufficient for destroying his people.” (C. Arnold, Powers of Darkness: Principalities & Powers in Paul’s Letters)

“When you were dead in your sins… God made you alive with Christ… And having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross.” (Colossians 2.13, 15)

Let’s pray: “Lord, help us to grasp how great Your victory on the cross truly was and what it means for us today!” Let us worship and be in amazement of our Savior! Let’s sing “The Cross Has the Final Word” by Cody Carnes. (click here)

-JP

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Day 1: Microbes, Resist!

Spiritual warfare is a part of the normal Christian life. Christians must appropriately engage in it without being dismissive nor paranoid.

“Whatever you were before you became a Christian… you are now the sworn foe of the legions of hell. Have no delusions about their reality or their hostility. But do not fear them. The God inside you terrifies them. They cannot touch you, let alone hurt you. But they can still seduce and they will try. They will also oppose you as you obey Christ… ‘Resist the devil… and he will flee from you’ (James 4.7). Life with Jesus can be an exhilarating and reassuring experience of constant triumph over evil forces. But the battle never ends…

“[The enemy’s] interest in you has nothing to do with you as an individual so much as with your potential for Christ’s cause… To God you are very important. But to Satan you are nothing more than a potentially useful microbe. But microbe or no he can hurt you. He and his hellions will damage you along one or more of four lines: They will tempt, they will accuse, they will deceive and they will devour.” (J. White, The Fight)

“So let God work his will in you. Yell a loud no to the Devil and watch him scamper.” (James 4.7 MSG)

Let’s pray: “Lord, we belong to You and choose to live in Your victory today!” Yell a loud no to the Devil by singing loudly the praises of our God! Let’s sing “Not Today” by Hillsong. (click here)

-JP

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