In Whom We Live and Move and Have Our Being

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Jesus Christ—
our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace;
the One through whom and for whom all things were made; and
the One in whom we live and move and have our being—
became flesh and made His dwelling among us.

And nothing—neither death nor life, angels nor demons, the present nor the future, not any powers, height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation—can separate us from the love of our God, which is in Jesus Christ our Lord.

Words for Our Daughters and Sons

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Before your first breath
God planted deep within you
a longing to bring forth into the world
his goodness and grace,
crafted as you were by the hands of the master.

Oh, you must know that
before the foundation of the earth,
you were assigned the eternal task
of reflecting the beauty and life
that is yours alone in Christ Jesus.

Let it sink in –
you have a song, buried deep within
which was readied for release before you
knew the notes so the wondrous treasure
of the composer’s love would sound and stir
and move among the trees.

Release all your fear,
for you are God’s masterpiece–
his most beloved creation–
designed to breathe your unique version
of his love and compassion into a waiting world.

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 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.

New Birth — January 21, 2014 (Tuesday)

Today’s Verses:

1 Peter 1:3-4

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade.

The book of 1 Peter is a letter the Apostle Peter wrote to Jewish and Gentile Christians throughout Asia Minor. During the time he wrote it, Christians were experiencing intense persecution and suffering under the Roman Empire. In his letter, Peter emphasizes the promise of hope in the midst of suffering.

Today’s Questions:

According to this passage, what is the hope we have as a result of our new birth?

Think of a time you were suffering in some way. What occupied your mind and heart during that time?

Identify a time in your life when praising God and seeing his mercy was difficult. Identify a time when doing so was easy. What was the difference?

Is there someone in your life who is suffering and with whom you could share Peter’s message of hope? How might you share it?

Today’s Prayer:

Oh, Father, let these words of Peter be my morning song and my evening refrain! Lord, forgive me that my first thoughts in suffering are not of you. How easily I forget the source of my hope and the promised inheritance for the reborn. My heart focuses on the near, the temporary, and the fading light. Help me, Father, to fix my heart on heavenly things, the everlasting, the light that never dims. Let me be someone who brings words of hope and encouragement to those I know who are suffering. Give me courage, patience, and peace to be present in the midst of another’s pain. Work through me, Lord, to touch a life with love and comfort today.

Go A Little Deeper:

Review John 3:1-21 for Jesus’ description of what it means to be born again.

All Things New – January 7, 2014 (Tuesday)

Today’s Verses:

Revelation 21:3

And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Look! God’s dwelling place is now among the people and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God.”

Today’s Questions:

What do you think God is waiting for before he comes to dwell among us? Why doesn’t he live among us now?

Why do you think the first thing pointed out to John about what the new Jerusalem is like is that God lives among the people?

As you think about God today, where do you locate him physically? How is this different than it will be according to John’s revelation of the new Jerusalem?

Today’s Prayer:

Father, I long to see you, to see you living among us, and to finally be reunited in fellowship with you! There are days, Lord, when I’m suddenly stopped short at the notion that I cannot locate you. I’m searching desperately for you, wondering where you are. There are other days, Father, when it seems my breath is no different from yours and brief moments when my eyes see things as you do. There are times you feel so close to me, I could not be convinced otherwise and times you feel distant, as far away as the farthest star of the sky. You are within my very body, I know. Help me, Lord, remember this fact, slow down enough to feel your closeness, and act within this truth.

Go A Little Deeper:

Review Genesis 2:19-3:24 and note the times the Lord God was physically present with Adam and Eve.