Our World and Salvation | DAY TWENTY-EIGHT

Our World and Salvation | DAY TWENTY-EIGHT

 
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Our World and Salvation | DAY TWENTY-EIGHT

SCRIPTURE READING

“When it was already evening, because it was the day of preparation (that is, the day before the Sabbath), Joseph of Arimathea, a prominent member of the Sanhedrin who was himself looking forward to the kingdom of God, came and boldly went to Pilate and asked for Jesus’s body. Pilate was surprised that he was already dead. Summoning the centurion, he asked him whether he had already died. When he found out from the centurion, he gave the corpse to Joseph. After he bought some linen cloth, Joseph took him down and wrapped him in the linen. Then he laid him in a tomb cut out of the rock and rolled a stone against the entrance to the tomb. Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses were watching where he was laid.”

Mark 15:42-47 CSB
 

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
It was the day of preparation, the day before the Sabbath when Jesus was buried. Likewise, as we prepare to gather tomorrow here in Tallahassee, let us we remember that even though Jesus died and was buried, the story does not end there. For all of those that trust in him, across all the world, across all time, death is now just a period of preparation for something miraculous. Because of Jesus we are not preparing for the end of our lives, we are preparing for the beginning of eternity.

Prayer Focus:
Let us pray that the focus of all those in Christ might this very day reflect on the reality that Jesus was buried, and indeed rose again. Let us thank God for the resurrection of all the saints to come. Let us pray specifically for our friends and family in Tallahassee, for those in New Orleans and London and throughout all the world, that hear this good news to receive it and come to trust Jesus as their Lord and Savior. Let us pray for the final preparations for Easter at the Civic Center and ask God to prepare our hearts to receive the message on that day.
 

Our World and Sacrifice | DAY TWENTY-SEVEN

Our World and Sacrifice | DAY TWENTY-SEVEN

 
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Our World and Sacrifice | DAY TWENTY-SEVEN

SCRIPTURE READING

“They forced a man coming in from the country, who was passing by, to carry Jesus’s cross. He was Simon of Cyrene, the father of Alexander and Rufus. They brought Jesus to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of the Skull). They tried to give him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. Then they crucified him and divided his clothes, casting lots for them to decide what each would get. Now it was nine in the morning when they crucified him. The inscription of the charge written against him was: THE KING OF THE JEWS. They crucified two criminals with him, one on his right and one on his left.

Those who passed by were yelling insults at him, shaking their heads, and saying, “Ha! The one who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, save yourself by coming down from the cross!” In the same way, the chief priests with the scribes were mocking him among themselves and saying, “He saved others, but he cannot save himself! Let the Messiah, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross, so that we may see and believe.” Even those who were crucified with him taunted him. When it was noon, darkness came over the whole land until three in the afternoon. And at three Jesus cried out with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lemá sabachtháni?” which is translated, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “See, he’s calling for Elijah.” Someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, fixed it on a stick, offered him a drink, and said, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down.” Jesus let out a loud cry and breathed his last. Then the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. When the centurion, who was standing opposite him, saw the way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!” There were also women watching from a distance. Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James the younger and of Joses, and Salome. In Galilee these women followed him and took care of him. Many other women had come up with him to Jerusalem.”

Mark 15:21-41 CSB

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
The cross on which Jesus died was no accident. Taking a tree which God had created, man cut it down, carved it and shaped it into an instrument of torture and death. Jesus, also did not die on the cross by accident. He wasn’t a leader of a rebellion which failed. He died there willingly. He suffered the pain because he intended to save a people for himself from the greatest enemy of all; sin and death. On that day, as the sky turned dark, the earth quaked and the temple curtain tore in half, it seems that mankind was the last one to realize what had just happened – the Son of God had just been killed.

Prayer Focus – Let us pray to feel and understand the reality of Jesus’ death. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to quicken our hearts to see and accept that Jesus wasn’t just a good teacher, a philosopher or just a nice man. He is our Savior and he died for us on purpose, because he loves us and we were helpless in our sins. Let us pray for our Good Friday service that this truth would be known clearly by all those that hear.

GO & DO:
Good Friday Fasting: Consider fasting today (or for the rest of the day) to help focus your thoughts and prayers on the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. This is a Good Friday tradition we have at City Church that we invite you into with us.
 

Our World and Remembrance | DAY TWENTY-SIX

Our World and Remembrance | DAY TWENTY-SIX

 
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Our World and Remembrance | DAY TWENTY-SIX

SCRIPTURE READING

“On the first day of Unleavened Bread, when they sacrifice the Passover lamb, his disciples asked him, “Where do you want us to go and prepare the Passover so that you may eat it?”

So he sent two of his disciples and told them, “Go into the city, and a man carrying a jar of water will meet you. Follow him. Wherever he enters, tell the owner of the house, ‘The Teacher says, “Where is my guest room where I may eat the Passover with my disciples?”’ He will show you a large room upstairs, furnished and ready. Make the preparations for us there.” So the disciples went out, entered the city, and found it just as he had told them, and they prepared the Passover.

When evening came, he arrived with the Twelve. While they were reclining and eating, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, one of you will betray me—one who is eating with me.”

They began to be distressed and to say to him one by one, “Surely not I?”

He said to them, “It is one of the Twelve—the one who is dipping bread in the bowl with me. For the Son of Man will go just as it is written about him, but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been better for him if he had not been born.”

As they were eating, he took bread, blessed and broke it, gave it to them, and said, “Take it; this is my body.” Then he took a cup, and after giving thanks, he gave it to them, and they all drank from it. He said to them, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will no longer drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”

After singing a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”

Mark 14:12-22 CSB

 

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
To those outside the church the Lord’s Supper is very strange. In the early centuries of the church there were even those that accused Christians of being cannibals, because Christians ate the body and drank the blood of their founder. But the Lord’s Supper is part of a much older story, one that began in the Garden of Eden. That start involves, a beautiful good creation, a fallen and sinful human race, a chosen people, that were enslaved and then freed by God’s power, and a promise of restoration. It also involves the sacrifice of the very Son of God. It is the story of the Bible, one that is both true and provides our very hope for reconciliation with God. This entire story is what the Lord’s Supper is celebrating. But why are we commanded to celebrate the Lord’s Supper so often? The reason is simple. We are forgetful people. Time and time again in this incredible true story God’s own people have fallen away from him for the simple reason that they ceased to remember what he had told them. Forgetfulness is at the root of much sin. As James said, it is like looking at ourselves in mirror and forgetting who we are (James 1:23-24). We are part of an incredible, beautiful story, because the entire history of the world is really just HIS-story. Let us remember, always.

Prayer Focus:
Let us pray and reflect on the beauty and necessity of the Lord’s Supper and why we do it as Christian’s. Let us pray that God would bring to our remembrance all that he has done to save us. Let us pray for those coming this Sunday to Easter, that what we confirm in Christ together might remain with us as we leave.
 

Our World and Death | DAY TWENTY-FIVE

Our World and Death | DAY TWENTY-FIVE

 
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Our World and Death | DAY TWENTY-FIVE

SCRIPTURE READING

“They were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. The disciples were astonished, but those who followed him were afraid. Taking the Twelve aside again, he began to tell them the things that would happen to him. “See, we are going up to Jerusalem. The Son of Man will be handed over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death. Then they will hand him over to the Gentiles, and they will mock him, spit on him, flog him, and kill him, and he will rise after three days.” James and John, the sons of Zebedee, approached him and said, “Teacher, we want you to do whatever we ask you.” “What do you want me to do for you?” he asked them. They answered him, “Allow us to sit at your right and at your left in your glory. Jesus said to them, “You don’t know what you’re asking. Are you able to drink the cup I drink or to be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with?”

“We are able,” they told him.

Jesus said to them, “You will drink the cup I drink, and you will be baptized with the baptism I am baptized with. But to sit at my right or left is not mine to give; instead, it is for those for whom it has been prepared.”

When the ten disciples heard this, they began to be indignant with James and John. Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Mark 10:32-45 CSB

 

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
From the moment we are born, we all begin a journey towards death. Likewise, as Jesus travelled towards Jerusalem in those last days, he also knew he was heading towards his bloody crucifixion. He knew not only that he was going to die, but how and why. Ever thought about that? The entire journey was set out towards betrayal and torture, yet he did not look away. For Jesus was a ransom for us. Live your life this Easter week with purpose; knowing Jesus has gone before us, and the Holy Spirit gives us strength and hope in that journey together.

Prayer Focus:
Let us pray that God would help us to understand our own mortality. Let us ask for courage to face the path that Jesus already walked, to run our race to the end, with the hope and knowledge that we will also be raised again in Christ. Let us pray specifically for all those throughout the world hearing the gospel this Sunday to understand and receive it. Pray specifically for your lost friends, family, co-workers and neighbors to come to know Jesus this Easter Sunday. Pray for boldness to speak up about the gospel with them.
 

Our World and Poverty | DAY TWENTY-FOUR

Our World and Poverty | DAY TWENTY-FOUR

 
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Our World and Poverty| DAY TWENTY-FOUR

SCRIPTURE READING

“Looking at him, Jesus loved him and said to him, “You lack one thing: Go, sell all you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” But he was dismayed by this demand, and he went away grieving, because he had many possessions.”

Mark 10:21-22 CSB

 

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
What we think we own, we do not own. It’s easy to forget God owns all ‘our’ wealth and likewise, it’s hard to see when our money has control over us. Jesus has challenged each of us to see ownership differently.

Poverty is everywhere in our world, and begs for a solution. But that solution doesn’t start here on Earth, it starts in heaven. The more possessions we think we have, the more we need to be willing to give them up. Whenever, my brother’s four boys fight over toys, he asks them, “Who owns these toys?” Their response… “You do daddy.”

Prayer Focus:
Let us ask God to give us a heaven centered mindset to all our possessions. To see our money, our stuff, our very lives as His, not ours. Let us pray for the poor in need throughout the world, and ask for a willingness to give up all that we have for the cause of Christ, and to care for our neighbors in need. Thank Jesus for giving up his heavenly home to save you when you were helpless, poor and in need of rescue.
 

Our World and Sickness | DAY TWENTY-THREE

Our World and Sickness | DAY TWENTY-THREE

 
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Our World and Sickness | DAY TWENTY-THREE

SCRIPTURE READING

“They came to Jericho. And as he was leaving Jericho with his disciples and a large crowd, Bartimaeus (the son of Timaeus), a blind beggar, was sitting by the road. When he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Many warned him to keep quiet, but he was crying out all the more, “Have mercy on me, Son of David!” Jesus stopped and said, “Call him.” So they called the blind man and said to him, “Have courage! Get up; he’s calling for you.” He threw off his coat, jumped up, and came to Jesus. Then Jesus answered him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Rabboni,” the blind man said to him, “I want to see.” Jesus said to him, “Go, your faith has saved you.” Immediately he could see and began to follow Jesus on the road.”

Mark 10:46-52 CSB

 

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
One of the hardest realities to deal with in our world is the universality of sickness. From birth our bodies are at war with the very world around us. And when we are sick, we all want to know why, and we all want to be healed. But even as sin brought death and decay into our world, God has a plan for healing and for the restoration of our bodies. Because of Jesus, even death itself cannot hold us, for with Christ, “we walk in the newness of life,” (Romans 6:4) for God’s glory!

Prayer Focus:
Let us pray for all those throughout the world suffering from sickness in body and soul. Mercy! Let us cry out the prayer of the blind beggar, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”. Let us pray that God might likewise strengthen the faith of all that love him.
 

Our World and Sin  | DAY TWENTY-TWO

Our World and Sin | DAY TWENTY-TWO

 
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Our World and Sin  | DAY TWENTY-TWO

SCRIPTURE READING

“As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up, knelt down before him, and asked him, “Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” “Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked him. “No one is good except God alone.”

Mark 10:17-18 CSB
 

 

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
In our world, so often we want to think of ourselves as inherently good. Yet, our own failure to be good and the suffering we see in the world around us, points to a different reality. “No one is good except God alone.” As a result, all our world in striving with the effects of what sin has done.

Prayer Focus:
As we enter the final week before Easter, we reflect one last time on our journey from creation, to corruption, to redemption and finally reconciliation and eternal life with God. A Holy God, followed by a fallen world has been the starting point each week. Let us acknowledge first our state in the light of God’s holiness. Let us thank him for the eternal life to come, the life we find in Jesus.

Go & DO:
Prayer @ the Capital Building: Join us tomorrow (Monday 3/26) on the 22nd floor of the Capital Building at 10am to pray over our city and for Easter at the Civic Center.
 

A Kingdom Eternal | DAY TWENTY-ONE

A Kingdom Eternal | DAY TWENTY-ONE

 
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A Kingdom Eternal | DAY TWENTY-ONE

SCRIPTURE READING

“I continued watching in the night visions, and suddenly one like a son of man was coming with the clouds of heaven. He approached the Ancient of Days and was escorted before him. He was given dominion, and glory, and a kingdom; so that those of every people, nation, and language should serve him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will not be destroyed.”

Daniel 7:13-14 CSB

 

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
There is no greater love than eternal love. There is no greater kingdom than an eternal kingdom. It is so tempting to think that our mission as followers of Jesus is to setup Christian governments, organizations, schools and basically Christianize everything in this broken world. However, the fact is, it is still broken and will never fully be restored until Jesus comes back. We can keep and should continue to proclaim His gospel to the ends of the earth, but don’t forget that part of that message is to be a herald of a returning King of Kings. And when that kingdom finally does come it will last forever. We are “here, but not yet,” people, and our hope is in the biggest event that will ever be. Come quickly Lord Jesus!

PRAYER FOCUS:
As we work hard on preparing for Easter at the Civic Center, let us remember that our strength comes not in what we build here, but in our hope in the kingdom to come. Pray that what we build will reflect God’s eternal kingdom and bring many in Tallahassee to trust in the hope of God’s eternal kingdom.
 

A Kingdom Proclaimed | DAY TWENTY

A Kingdom Proclaimed | DAY TWENTY

 
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A Kingdom Proclaimed | DAY TWENTY

SCRIPTURE READING

“So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, are you restoring the kingdom to Israel at this time?” He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” After he had said this, he was taken up as they were watching, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going, they were gazing into heaven, and suddenly two men in white clothes stood by them. They said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up into heaven? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come in the same way that you have seen him going into heaven.” Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem — a Sabbath day’s journey away. When they arrived, they went to the room upstairs where they were staying: Peter, John, James, Andrew, Philip, Thomas, Bartholomew, Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. They all were continually united in prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.”

Acts 1:6-14 CSB

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
Have you ever wondered why Jesus didn’t just setup his final Kingdom immediately? Why wait? Why choose us, his church, to slowly and systematically proclaim his gospel message to the ends of the earth? God is the mastermind of the most methodical, thorough, and amazing capers of all time! Who would have planned to have God come down to Earth…born of a virgin, live fully as a man, be crucified, buried and then raise from the dead? Only God! He uses weak and ordinary people like you and I to accomplish his mission. The best part, however, is that we are not doing this on our own power. It is the awesome power of the Holy Spirit that drives and equips us for every situation and every step closer to the consummation of his Kingdom.

PRAYER FOCUS:
Let us be continually united in prayer, like the disciples, that the Holy Spirit would give us boldness to engage with lost people, identify as Christians, and share the gospel with them. Pray as we prepare to proclaim this resurrected Jesus in our town center, the Civic Center on Easter morning.
 

A Kingdom Received | DAY NINETEEN

A Kingdom Received | DAY NINETEEN

 
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A Kingdom Received | DAY NINETEEN

SCRIPTURE READING

“People were bringing little children to him in order that he might touch them, but the disciples rebuked them. When Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the little children come to me. Don’t stop them, because the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.” After taking them in his arms, he laid his hands on them and blessed them.”

Mark 10:13-16 CSB

 

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
God’s Kingdom does not look very much like most of the world’s cities and kingdoms. Many in our world would consider it quite backwards. The Upside-down. The least shall be greatest, that last are to be first, and we cannot receive it unless we receive it like a little child. So often the rich, powerful and famous are first in our world, but in God’s kingdom that whole system gets turned upside down.

PRAYER FOCUS:
Let us pray that we might trust God’s will for Tallahassee with the eagerness of little children. Let us pray for our Kid’s ministry and for all children in Tallahassee, that they might come to know and trust Jesus as the true Savior of the world.

FURTHER READING:
This passage is also the focus of this week’s sermon.  Check out this week’s Mark Devotion to dive deeper.  

 

A Kingdom Restored | DAY EIGHTEEN

A Kingdom Restored | DAY EIGHTEEN

 
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A Kingdom Restored | DAY EIGHTEEN

SCRIPTURE READING

“When he heard that John had been arrested, he withdrew into Galilee. He left Nazareth and went to live in Capernaum by the sea, in the region of Zebulun and Naphtali. This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: Land of Zebulun and land of Naphtali, along the road by the sea, beyond the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people who live in darkness have seen a great light, and for those living in the land of the shadow of death, a light has dawned. From then on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, because the kingdom of heaven has come near.”

Matthew 4:12-17 CSB

 

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
No matter how dark the world has been and is today, the awesome news is that the kingdom of heaven is here; and is yet coming. Jesus’ commanded us to turn from our rebellion and seek the kingdom of heaven through faith in Christ. Jesus’ death and resurrection started that kingdom and it is still advancing through us.

PRAYER FOCUS:
Let us pray that City Church and our sister churches that make up the Church of Jesus Christ in Tallahassee, might be a shining light in our city. May the church proclaim the good news of salvation by grace, through faith, in Jesus Christ alone. Pray for God’s Kingdom to come in such a way in our city that it will impact the rest of Florida, our nation and the world.
 

A Kingdom in Heaven | DAY SEVENTEEN

A Kingdom in Heaven | DAY SEVENTEEN

 
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A Kingdom in Heaven | DAY SEVENTEEN

SCRIPTURE READING

“Therefore, you should pray like this: Our Father in heaven, your name be honored as holy. Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.”

Matthew 6:9-13 CSB

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
Jesus taught us to pray to our Father in heaven and to ask for his will to be done on earth as it is in heaven. What would it look like for Tallahassee to be a place that increasingly looked like heaven? Wouldn’t it be great to have God’s will done in our city as it is in heaven? This will happen as His Kingdom expands through Christians reaching their lost friends with the gospel. May His Kingdom come to Tallahassee as it is in heaven.

PRAYER FOCUS:
Let us pray for the government and leaders in Tallahassee. Prayer that God’s will would be done in the rule of law, for our part as residents of Tallahassee, and most importantly as members of God’s kingdom. Pray that you would learn to live as a local missionary each day where you live, work and play.
 

A Kingdom in Rebellion | DAY SIXTEEN

A Kingdom in Rebellion | DAY SIXTEEN

 
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A Kingdom in Rebellion | DAY SIXTEEN

SCRIPTURE READING

“The Israelites did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. They worshiped the Baals” - Judges 2:11 CSB

“The Israelites did what was evil in the Lord’s sight; they forgot the Lord their God and worshiped the Baals and the Asherahs.” - Judges 3:7 CSB

“The Israelites again did what was evil in the Lord’s sight. He gave King Eglon of Moab power over Israel, because they had done what was evil in the Lord’s sight.” - Judges 3:12 CSB

“The Israelites did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. So the Lord handed them over to Midian seven years,” - Judges 6:1 CSB

“Then the Israelites again did what was evil in the sight of the Lord. They worshiped the Baals and the Ashtoreths, the gods of Aram, Sidon, and Moab, and the gods of the Ammonites and the Philistines. They abandoned the Lord and did not worship him.”    - Judges 10:6 CSB

“The Israelites again did what was evil in the Lord’s sight, so the Lord handed them over to the Philistines forty years.” - Judges 13:1 CSB

“So why didn’t you obey the Lord? Why did you rush on the plunder and do what was evil in the Lord’s sight?” - 1 Samuel 15:19 CSB

“Why then have you despised the Lord’s command by doing what I consider evil? You struck down Uriah the Hethite with the sword and took his wife as your own wife — you murdered him with the Ammonite’s sword.” - 2 Samuel 12:9 CSB

 

 

 

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
Even though God’s first command was to establish our domain as humankind, in our sin it was our first act to reject God’s design to do what was right in our own eyes. Throughout the first few books of the Bible the curse found its way into every part of society. Probably one of the most common themes was that mankind was continually doing “what was evil in the sight of Lord.” What this makes clear is that 1) God is still watching, and 2) mankind’s tendency is towards rebellion.

PRAYER FOCUS:
Let us confess our addiction to ourselves and give thanks for the community and city we live in. Pray that we might find our joy in doing “what is right in the Lord’s sight.” (2 Kings 18:3)
 

A Kingdom in Paradise | DAY FIFTEEN

A Kingdom in Paradise | DAY FIFTEEN

 
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A Kingdom in Paradise | DAY FIFTEEN

SCRIPTURE READING

“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, according to our likeness. They will rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, the livestock, the whole earth, and the creatures that crawl on the earth.” So God created man in his own image; he created him in the image of God; he created them male and female. God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and subdue it. Rule the fish of the sea, the birds of the sky, and every creature that crawls on the earth.” God also said, “Look, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the surface of the entire earth and every tree whose fruit contains seed. This will be food for you, for all the wildlife of the earth, for every bird of the sky, and for every creature that crawls on the earth — everything having the breath of life in it — I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good indeed. Evening came and then morning: the sixth day.”‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

Genesis 1:26-31 CSB

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
The first kingdom on earth was established by God, not man. God was the King. Adam and Eve were priviledged to be citizens of His Kingdom. It is very interesting to consider that the very first kingly command God gave to mankind was to take care of the earth and all the creatures he had made. What a task we were given. What a responsibility.

PRAYER FOCUS:
Let us give thanks to God for the bounty of his creation, and sing with the heavens in declaring the glory of God. Ask the Lord to show you how you can care for His creation, starting right here in our city. Let us consider how as part of our community and city we can continue to show our thanks for God’s goodness by taking our responsibility as care-givers seriously; starting with the Gospel.
 

A Christ-like Inheritance | DAY FOURTEEN

A Christ-like Inheritance | DAY FOURTEEN

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A Christ-like Inheritance | DAY FOURTEEN

SCRIPTURE READING

“So then, brothers and sisters, we are not obligated to the flesh to live according to the flesh, because if you live according to the flesh, you are going to die. But if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all those led by God’s Spirit are God’s sons. For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear. Instead, you received the Spirit of adoption, by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father!” The Spirit himself testifies together with our spirit that we are God’s children, and if children, also heirs — heirs of God and coheirs with Christ — if indeed we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.”

Romans 8:12-17 CSB
 

“Therefore, as God’s chosen ones, holy and dearly loved, put on compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another and forgiving one another if anyone has a grievance against another. Just as the Lord has forgiven you, so you are also to forgive. Above all, put on love, which is the perfect bond of unity. And let the peace of Christ, to which you were also called in one body, rule your hearts. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell richly among you, in all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another through psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Colossians 3:12-17 CSB
 

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
Have you ever wondered why we call God our Heavenly Father? In Christ, we rightly call God “Abba”! Furthermore, there is no richer family, no greater inheritance than to be part of God’s family. Also, that inheritance is not reduced by there being millions of children. In fact, we are all God’s sons. This means we are full heirs with Jesus. No matter how broken our family is or was on earth, our heavenly family is greater than anything we can imagine. In Christ, you belong, you have a seat at the table, forever. Amen.

PRAYER FOCUS:
Pray that we might see the family of God, His Kingdom grow more and more around us. Pray that our words, our songs, and the gratitude of our hearts would overflow with thanksgiving today.
 

A Christ-like Follower | DAY THIRTEEN

A Christ-like Follower | DAY THIRTEEN

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A Christ-like Follower | DAY THIRTEEN

SCRIPTURE READING

“... for what makes everything visible is light. Therefore it is said: Get up, sleeper, and rise up from the dead, and Christ will shine on you. Pay careful attention, then, to how you live — not as unwise people but as wise — making the most of the time, because the days are evil. So don’t be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit: speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music with your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another in the fear of Christ. Wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord, because the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of the body. Now as the church submits to Christ, so also wives are to submit to their husbands in everything.”

Ephesians 5:14-24 CSB

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
In our society, “submit” is an ugly word. To many, it implies giving up and giving in to a tyrant. But the way the Bible uses the word, it is anything but. It is coming alive, because the one we follow, the one we submit to is the one who has made us alive again. He is our “Head” and our “Savior”. “Awake, O sleeping one and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you,”.

PRAYER FOCUS:
Pray that we might truly understand the joy and beauty of heavenly submission. Pray that we might be wise and not foolish. Pray for encouragement for those we submit to in life. Give thanks for and pray for the encouragement of the wives and mothers God has placed in our lives.
 

A Christ-like Leader | DAY TWELVE

A Christ-like Leader | DAY TWELVE

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A Christ-like Leader | DAY TWELVE

SCRIPTURE READING

“Jesus called them over and said to them, “You know that those who are regarded as rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those in high positions act as tyrants over them. But it is not so among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you will be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you will be a slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.””

Mark 10:42-45 CSB

“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself for her to make her holy, cleansing her with the washing of water by the word. He did this to present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or anything like that, but holy and blameless. In the same way, husbands are to love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hates his own flesh but provides and cares for it, just as Christ does for the church, since we are members of his body. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become one flesh. This mystery is profound, but I am talking about Christ and the church. To sum up, each one of you is to love his wife as himself, and the wife is to respect her husband.”

Ephesians 5:25-33 CSB

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
Jesus commands us to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Him. That’s not a suggestion or a penalty. It’s an honor and can be a joy. Starting with husbands, we all must lead in being last and be willing to put everything we have on the line for those we serve. We all lead at some point. Ephesians 5 takes this principal and applies it specifically to husbands calling them to “love their wives as their own bodies.”

PRAYER FOCUS:
Pray for all the places that you act as a leader whether as a father or mother, brother or sister, boss or employee. Servant-leadership. Ask God to give us the courage of Christ to be able to sacrifice all for his sake and for those he loves. Pray specifically for husbands and fathers in your life.
 

A Family Restored | DAY ELEVEN

A Family Restored | DAY ELEVEN

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A Family Restored | DAY ELEVEN

SCRIPTURE READING

“But that is not how you came to know Christ, assuming you heard about him and were taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus, to take off your former way of life, the old self that is corrupted by deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, the one created according to God’s likeness in righteousness and purity of the truth. Therefore, putting away lying, speak the truth, each one to his neighbor, because we are members of one another. Be angry and do not sin. Don’t let the sun go down on your anger, and don’t give the devil an opportunity. Let the thief no longer steal. Instead, he is to do honest work with his own hands, so that he has something to share with anyone in need. No foul language should come from your mouth, but only what is good for building up someone in need, so that it gives grace to those who hear. And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by him for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, anger and wrath, shouting and slander be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving one another, just as God also forgave you in Christ.”

Ephesians 4:20-32 CSB

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
“Break the circle,” goes the saying. Our families define us, and so does the sin and brokenness we learn in them. Jesus however, not only offers us forgiveness from sin, but also restoration for our souls and for our families. The beauty of what we become when we receive forgiveness in Jesus is not our own beauty, but God’s beauty. We can be kind and compassionate, forgiving one another, because God first forgave us in Christ.

PRAYER FOCUS:
Pray specifically for the brokenness in your family and seek God’s restoration in the dark places of your heart. Go back and pray through this passage both confessing the specifics and proclaiming the truth that we are to put on our new self.
 

A Family Divided | DAY TEN

A Family Divided | DAY TEN

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A Family Divided | DAY TEN

SCRIPTURE READING

“He set out from there and went to the region of Judea and across the Jordan. Then crowds converged on him again, and as was his custom he taught them again. Some Pharisees came to test him, asking, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He replied to them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses permitted us to write divorce papers and send her away.” But Jesus told them, “He wrote this command for you because of the hardness of your hearts. But from the beginning of creation God made them male and female. For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and the two will become one flesh. So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” When they were in the house again, the disciples questioned him about this matter.”

Mark 10:1-10 CSB

Further Reading: This passage is also the focus of this week’s sermon.  Check out this week’s Mark Devotion to dive deeper into this passage. 

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
In America, half of us watched our parents divorce. A lot of times the strife caused by the curse of sin in our lives leaves us feeling like we have no other choice but to run and hide, to seek separation rather than restoration. Jesus’ teaching on divorce and the family is hard to face, but the hope of this passage is that for those in Jesus, is doesn’t end in judgement. Jesus is making all things new.

PRAYER FOCUS:
Let us confess the hardness of our hearts, and prayer that the brokenness that we come from and that we have in our own families can be faced with courage and the knowledge that Jesus can and will restore us.
 

A Family Cursed | DAY NINE

A Family Cursed | DAY NINE

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A Family Cursed | DAY NINE

SCRIPTURE READING

“So the Lord God asked the woman, “What is this you have done?” And the woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the Lord God said to the serpent: Because you have done this, you are cursed more than any livestock and more than any wild animal. You will move on your belly and eat dust all the days of your life. I will put hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head, and you will strike his heel. He said to the woman: I will intensify your labor pains; you will bear children with painful effort. Your desire will be for your husband, yet he will rule over you. And he said to the man, “Because you listened to your wife and ate from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘Do not eat from it’: The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground, since you were taken from it. For you are dust, and you will return to dust.”

Genesis 3:13-19 CSB

THINKING FURTHER

THOUGHTS:
Sin is never just personal. When sin first entered the world it brought a level of corruption so pervasive that it affected everything it touched. The curse of sin created hostility between the serpent and man, for the woman, it caused pain in childbirth and strife in her relationship with her husband. For the man, it caused toil and difficulty just to find food and live day to day. All of this, then ultimately death, resulting from our rebellion against a holy God. These curses are real. We experience them every day. And they affect us not just as individuals, but in our families as well. Sin is never a solitary affair.

PRAYER FOCUS:
Let us confess and pray that God would help us to understand our families in light of the fall; that we may turn back to God for salvation. Pray for redemption in your family.