All Things New — January 31, 2014 (Friday)

Today’s Verses:

Revelation 21:1-5 (NASB)

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God made ready as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.”

And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.”

Today’s Questions:

Based on our study this month, list out all the things God has promised to make new.

In what ways has God changed your heart toward him or others through his Word during this All Things New study?

Today’s Prayer:

Father in heaven, maker of all things, thank you for your Word and the way you have transformed my heart as I have studied it this month. I am so thankful that your Word is alive and active, and that you are doing an unprecedented thing in my soul and in this world. I long for the day that all things are new and you again walk among us as we live in the glorious light of your presence. Help me to speed the coming of your kingdom by sharing your love, your message of hope, and your mercy and grace. Lord of all, King of kings, my life is yours. Use me for the sake of others.

New Song — January 30, 2014 (Thursday)

Today’s Verses:

Psalm 40:1-3

I waited patiently for the LORD;
he turned to me and heard my cry.

He lifted me out of the slimy pit,
out of the mud and mire;
he set my feet on a rock
and gave me a firm place to stand.

He put a new song in my mouth,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see and fear the LORD
and put their trust in him.

Today’s Questions:

Identify a time you cried out to God in prayer. Did you receive a response, whether in words or circumstances? How did the fact that you received a response impact your understanding of God?

When was your very first encounter with God? What changed in your life after that encounter?

What keeps you from crying out to God when you find yourself in the pit or the mud and mire?

Do you ever sing out in praise to God when you’re alone? What song do you sing?

Today’s Prayer:

Father in heaven, on the days I am flying high and feeling alive and full, please remind me of your presence and where I was when you found me. I never want to forget where I started and how you saved me and set me on a new path. I never want to forget that my own strength and choices led me away from you and to a place of desperation. Father, on the days I cannot sense your presence, reveal yourself to me in a way that gets through to me. Remind me that you hear me and I need only call out to you. I cry out to you on behalf of my family and friends who are still singing an old song and stuck in the mud. Reach out to them, turn their hearts to you, Lord! Help me to show grace and love to those who do not know you, for I was once where they are.

Go A Little Deeper:

Read Titus 3:1-8 for a reminder to show grace and love to those far from God.

New Compassions – January 29, 2014 (Wednesday)

Today’s Verses:

Lamentations 3:22-24

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed,
for his compassions never fail.
They are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.
I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion;
therefore I will wait for him.”

Today’s Questions:

Think of a day or a season in your life when you thought you might be consumed by pain, hurt, stress, anger, or something else?

What promises in God’s Word can or do you claim in the times you feel like you might be consumed?

What do you think it means to wait on the Lord?

Today’s Prayer:

Oh, Father, thank you for loving me. Thank you for your mercy and compassion. I would be utterly lost without you. Some days feel so long, the bad news unending, and the clouds ever-covering. I am so thankful that every morning your compassion and mercy are new and I never have to wonder if the tank is low or whether you will run out and I will be left on my own. Father, so often I get ahead of myself, ahead of where I know you have placed me. Help me to wait for your faithful provision and serve you full-on where I am.

Go A Little Deeper:

Read Jude 1:17-21 for words about how to wait.

New Name — January 28, 2014 (Tuesday)

Today’s Verse:

Revelation 2:17

Whoever has ears, let them hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To the one who is victorious, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give that person a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to the one who receives it.

Today’s Questions:

Have you ever been called names by a bully or enemy? What about by a voice deep inside of you? What names?

Does anyone in your life call you a pet name that reflects their love for you? What is the name they use?

What name, if you saw it on a white stone given to you, would make your soul soar with the sense of being known and loved?

Today’s Prayer:

Father in heaven, I am a child who longs to climb upon your lap to feel your arms wrapped around me and to hear your words of love. Sometimes I believe my name is ashamed, embarrassed, sin-filled, worthless, unloved, alone, or afraid. But I know you see something so different, Lord. You see all of me, and yet nothing could keep you from calling me created, chosen, known, beloved, daughter, forgiven and redeemed. Thank you for seeing me for what I am becoming, what you made me to be, and who I am in Christ. Help me to act consistent with my new self in Christ instead of the old self whose security was in things that pass away.

Go A Little Deeper:

Read Psalm 139 to understand the care with which God made you.

New Name — January 27, 2014 (Monday)

Today’s Verses:

Isaiah 62:1-3

For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,
for Jerusalem’s sake I will not remain quiet,
till her vindication shines out like the dawn,
her salvation like a blazing torch.

The nations will see your vindication,
and all kings your glory;
you will be called by a new name
that the mouth of the LORD will bestow.

You will be a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand,
a royal diadem in the hand of your God.

The words in this passage are Isaiah’s, a prophet speaking to the people of Judah and Jerusalem between 740 and 680 B.C. Most scholars believe that Zion and Jerusalem refer to the church formed after the death and resurrection of Jesus.

Today’s Questions:

Have you lived through a period in your life that you might describe as “desolate and deserted?” What was your relationship with God like during that time?

What words do people in our culture most associate with the church today?

What do you believe the church could characterize or represent in our culture?

Usually, we know a crown is made for the head of a king. What do you make of Isaiah’s statement that the Israelites would be “a crown of splendor in the LORD’s hand?”

Today’s Prayer:

Father in heaven, thank you for the privilege of being part of your church, the collection of people you hold in your hand like a prized possession. Thank you for the restoration, healing, and light only you can bring to my desolation, broken soul, and dark desires. I wait in anticipation of the day you come again and pray that you find your church standing firm in faith, steadfast in hope, and unyielding in love. Guide my steps for the remainder of my life so that I carry the character and nature you long for your church to embody.

Go A Little Deeper:

Read Matthew 16:18 for Jesus’ promise about the church.

New Body — January 26, 2014 (Sunday)

Today’s Verses:

Romans 8:22-23

We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies.

Today’s Questions:

Think of a time when you observed or experienced the pains of childbirth. What was it like just before and then just after the child was born?

Why do you think Paul compares the pain of the anticipation of our adoption to sonship and redemption of our bodies to the pains of childbirth?

What words come to mind when you hear the phrase “redemption of our bodies”?

Today’s Prayer:

Father in heaven, thank you for adopting me and redeeming my body. I am so grateful; any alternative is bleak, with death instead of life as the outcome. Help me to continue to live in this sweet anticipation of birth instead of in the expectation of death. Lord, I long for the end of the labor pains and the beginning of the everlasting life in your presence as your child. Remind me, Father, that any suffering or pain is just temporary and that the goodness and glory that awaits is beyond my comprehension. Open my eyes, Lord, to the tastes of your goodness and glimpses of your glory so I can experience your kingdom and redemption here and now.

Go A Little Deeper:

Read John 16:16-24 to see Jesus’ promise that our grief will turn to joy.

New Body — January 25, 2014 (Saturday)

Today’s Verses:

Philippians 3:18-21

For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Today’s Questions:

In a typical day, how many of your activities, thoughts, and motivations are driven by the needs or desires of your body?

Is there anything about your body that keeps you from doing things you would love to do?

What do you imagine your transformed body, one like Christ’s glorious body, will be like?

Today’s Prayer:

Father, I long for the day I inhabit my transformed body, one that will be like Christ’s glorious body. No image I can conjure can come close, I know, but I long for wholeness, the disappearance of shame, and healing of all pain and disfigurement. So often, this body betrays me, with its sweat, or awkwardness, or longings. But it is mine, you have blessed me with it and the ability to use it to serve, and love, and experience the world. Help me care for this body well and treat it as the sacred temple in which you dwell while it is mine. Turn my eyes and thoughts to my ultimate home, in heaven, and empower me, Father, not to be defined by the look or desires of this temporary, aging body.

Go A Little Deeper:

Read 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 for God’s view of your body.

New Spirit — January 24, 2014 (Friday)

Today’s Verses:

Ezekiel 11:19-20

I will give them an undivided heart and put a new spirit in them; I will remove from them their heart of stone and give them a heart of flesh. Then they will follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws. They will be my people, and I will be their God.

Today’s Questions:

What does God say the promised undivided heart and new spirit allows us to do?

What do you think characterizes the “undivided heart” God promises in this passage?

When have you felt most fully devoted to God and his purposes? What do you attribute that devotion to? For example, were you engaged in certain practices, relationships, or choices?

Today’s Prayer:

Father in heaven, thank you for your promise of an undivided heart and a new spirit. I can see that the more I come to know you, the more my motivations, my desires, and my focus change to things that matter to you. Is this my heart transplant? And your power, and presence, and peace! Is this your spirit in me? You would do this for me, a small soul and expert sinner? Please don’t stop; continue to transform my heart and work through your spirit in me so that I can grow in the joy of obedience to your laws and decrees. I want to know you more, I can’t imagine being too close. Reveal to me, by your great goodness and grace, your presence and your love.

Go A Little Deeper:

Read John 14:15-25 to learn of Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit for those who love him.

New Heart and New Spirit — January 23, 2014 (Thursday)

Today’s Verses:

Ezekiel 18:30-32

Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!

Ezekiel was a prophet who was among the Jews exiled to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar in 597 B.C. Ezekiel’s calling from God was to communicate to his fellow Jews that as a result of their rebellion and disobedience, Jerusalem would fall. Once this occurred, Ezekiel’s mission shifted to telling the Jews of God’s coming redemption and restoration. The word “repent” in English means “to feel sorry for” or “to feel regret.” But, the Hebrew word that has been translated “repent” is “shuwb,” which means to turn back or retreat.

Today’s Questions:

What does God say a person who repents will get?

Identify a sin or patterns in your life about which you feel sorry for, but from which you have not yet retreated or turned away.

What is keeping you from retreating from those sins or patterns in your life about which you feel sorry, but from which you have not yet retreated or turned away?

Today’s Prayer:

Oh, Father, I need you. I need your forgiveness, your mercy, and your grace. I want life! Father, help me. I need strength and courage to turn away from the things that keep me bound to a lesser life. You have already set me free, why do I still get so easily lured back into captivity? Renew my heart and my spirit. Make them yours, make them resistant and resilient. The thing I doubt the most, God, is your goodness. Though the evidence of it abounds, I still doubt it. Build my faith, speak to me, give me the fortitude to remember your promises and all you have done to make me free.

Go A Little Deeper:

Read Romans 7:7-8:11 to learn about Paul’s struggle to turn away from his sinful desires and actions.

New Humanity — January 22, 2014 (Wednesday)

Today’s Verses:

Ephesians 2:14-15

For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, by setting aside in his flesh the law with its commands and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new humanity out of the two, thus making peace, and in one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility.

Today’s Questions:

What does this passage say Jesus’ purpose was?

To ___________ in himself one _______ __________________.

To _________________ both of them to ________ through the cross.

In what, other than Jesus, do you most often seek peace?

What does it look like for Jesus to be your peace in your walking-around life?

Today’s Prayer:

Father, thank you for the Prince of Peace, the peacemaker, the peace-bringer. I feel your peace deeply from time to time, catching glimpses here and there. But, Lord, I want to live every moment in that peace. I am so often on edge and irritated by the insignificant. I can be plagued by anxiety and driven by fear. Help me, Father, to live out the reality of Jesus Christ at the center of my being and my relationships so my soul is settled and my love is without restraint. Continue molding me into a peacemaker. And, oh, I pray for earthly peace. This world is ravaged by war, Lord, we need your peace in our physical world. I long for your return and speed your coming by practicing peacemaking.

Go A Little Deeper:

Read Jesus’ words in John 14:25-27 to know the peace he gives.