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Resonate Core Devotionals: Day 21

September 29, 2013 | By | No Comments

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Outward

Author: Chris Case

“In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Genesis 22:18

Blessing is written into the fabric of God’s story. From the beginning, He has desired to bless us in order that we would be a blessing to others, as shown through His story with Abraham. God desires that all people would be blessed through Jesus. And now, as his Body, we believe we live out this mission as we bless others.

If we believe our time, talent, resources, and skills are simply the work of our best efforts, we will horde, keep, and spend those resources on ourselves. But if we believe that God truly blesses and gives, then we should also desire to freely use, expend, and give for the purpose of His Kingdom, not ours.

We bless each other. God desires to use His time, talents, gifts, and resources to the building up of the church. That is why He describes us as a body. Each part of a body has a role, and each is important to the function of the body.

We bless our culture and community. God’s intent in blessing His people has always been so that those who don’t know Him and his grace might see Him at work in and through us and come to Him through our lives.

The best news of all? We have the power and ability to do all this because Jesus ultimately obeyed His Father’s voice and was obedient. Now, we are freely blessed through Jesus!

Prayer Starter: Jesus, You have so richly blessed me by giving me ______________. Help me see how I can use these gifts for your Kingdom.

Resonate Core Devotionals: Day 20

September 28, 2013 | By | No Comments

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Outward

Author: Jeff Buster

“Ask of Me, and I will surely give the nations as Your inheritance, and the very ends of the earth as Your possession.” Psalm 2:8 

Ever since creation, humanity and Satan alike have attacked God’s kingdom yet God has remained ruler over his creation through his sovereign hand. In Psalm 1, we see this rule of God extended to the righteous one who is promised to prevail over the wicked. Now in Psalm 2, the wicked individual is extended to whole nations and the prevailing righteous person is expanded to I AM’s anointed Davidic King. In response to the foreign nations speaking their words of arrogance against God and his King, the anointed one, in turn, proclaims the divine promise of world sovereignty. This is not a mere political aspiration with unknown outcomes but founded upon the belief that YHWH is creator and ruler of the world, moving nations around like pawns on a chess board for his purposes.

In the Parable of the Wicked Tenants, after the evil tenants of a vineyard plot together and Kill the owner’s son, the theme of Psalm 2:8 is mirrored proclaiming that the one who attacks God’s chosen Son will be broken and stripped from their kingdom by God’s anointed one (Matt. 21:33-43). Jesus, the anointed King in the line of David to rule over God’s Kingdom, is promised dominions over all rulers, powers and authorities (Col. 1:16). Christians, righteous one, heirs of the anointed king, you are charged and empowered to extend God’s Spirit-filled Kingdom of salvation to all the nations and the ends of the earth (Acts 1:8). When Christ returns, the spiritual kingdoms and political kingdom shall meet and all will finally be subjected to the righteous, sovereign hand of God.

Prayer Starter: Dear Sovereign King Jesus, I confess your full rule over me an all powers. It is my joy to submit my heart and personal kingdoms to you in order that you may use me to…

Resonate Core Devotionals: Day 19

September 27, 2013 | By | No Comments

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Outward

Author: Whitney Fahner

“He has told you, O Man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

There are many junctions of life where we wonder what The Lord would have us do. What neighborhood should I live in? What county? How do I serve the poor? How do I care for the widows? What does serving like Christ look like?

All good questions, but sometimes the stress behind finding the “right” answer to these questions overshadows everything else in our lives leaving us feeling trapped, isolated, and paralyzed. The reason this often happens is that in this time of decision we focus on ourselves. And like so many times in our lives when we focus on ourselves we tend to forget the Lord.

In this verse Micah was calling Israel to remember the Lord and what He has done; calling Israel out of their self focused idolatry and sin and hear the truth (and freedom) in the word of the Lord. The Lord is not interested in grand gestures. He is interested in being Lord of our whole life. He is interested in obedience. Which means He knows the answer to our questions and wants us to be fully reliant upon Him no matter what we “feel.”

The good news is that He has told us what is good, it is written throughout His word. So when we consider a path we can discern with the Holy Spirit is this just? Does it require loving kindness? And we can trust that as His children we know His voice (John 10:27). Take heart, the Lord knows your journey; where you are today and where you should be tomorrow. Follow after Him. He will direct your steps (Prov. 3:6; Ps. 37:23,24).

Prayer Starter: You, O God, are good. Today let me hear your direction and follow full of your justice, love, and kindness, knowing your victory is close at hand.

Resonate Core Devotionals: Day 18

September 26, 2013 | By | No Comments

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Outward

Author: Marie Huffman

“Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19-20

For so long in America we have sat in our churches and listened to sermons and worship music to only leave when it’s all done. We expect the leaders of our church to do all the work. When we read Matthew 28:19-20 Jesus never says the people you are paying to minister need to do this. He is speaking to the disciples, and if you claim to be a follower of Christ then he is talking to you. He said go, baptize, teach. Yes, it sounds a little scary, but thankfully Jesus didn’t just stop with this command. He goes on to say I will be with you. After all, as God told Abraham in response to Sarah’s unbelief in Genesis 18:4 ” Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

Prayer Starter: Pray today that the Lord will help you step out of your comfort zone and trust him to help you go, baptize, and teach.

Resonate Core Devotionals: Day 17

September 25, 2013 | By | No Comments

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Outward

Author: Sarah Pascual

“Is this not the fast which I choose, to loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke, and to let the oppressed go free and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into the house’ when you see the naked, to cover him’ and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then your light will break out like the dawn, and your recovery will speedily spring forth; and your righteousness will go before you; the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.”  Isaiah 58:6-8

Isn’t this one of the most inspiring passages in the Bible? It’s full of passion and drive and a pure, fierce desire to see others loved and cared for. And not only that, but the promise of what we are to receive is full of light and life and glory!

Those of us who walk with God are continually seeking intimacy and closeness with God. We want to be righteous, we want to be made whole in Him.

I know that I often find myself trying to achieve righteousness and glory by my own strength or only in comfortable environments, like by having a great worship experience, listening to an inspiring Podcast, or praying. These things are great, but brothers and sisters, there is MORE. We are to lay down our lives for others in service to Christ. We are to loose the bonds of wickedness. We are to let the oppressed go free and break EVERY yoke. We are to share our bread with the hungry. We are to bring the homeless poor into our houses. We are to clothe the naked. These are not figurative commands, but literal commands.

These commands are things that God feels so very deeply and if we are not doing them (by the Holy Spirit’s leading), we are not fully living into our calling and commands as Christ-followers. As we take these challenging steps to follow him in less comfortable ways, we will experience an incredible freedom, light, healing, righteousness, and glory! There is an unexplainable liberty and unending joy in knowing Christ through loving others actively and sacrificially.

Prayer Starter: Lord Jesus, please give me grace to hear your Spirit guiding me into love, and give me boldness to care for others the way you lead. I want to be like You.

Resonate Core Devotionals: Day 16

September 24, 2013 | By | No Comments

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Outward

Author: Jonathan Pascual

 “And if I give all my possessions to the poor and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.” 1 Corinthians 13:3

Jesus was all about the heart of the matter. In the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7), he made people think twice about the letter of the law and heart issues… Anger was just as bad as murder. Lustful looks were as bad as adultery. Don’t just give to the needy – do it quietly. Don’t just fast – do it on the DL so others don’t know.

Here in his letter the Corinthians, Paul also expounds on heart issues – LOVE is vital. He’s saying that it doesn’t matter if you donate all your stuff or all your money, however good that act is. If it’s not done in love, it’s worthless to you. Without love, you’re not storing up treasures in heaven – you’re just doing a seemingly good charitable act in false humility.

Yes, we are called to help others in material need. But those actions go hand-in-hand with a genuine God-given, Christ-like love for others. Those charitable actions are evidence of, and an outpouring of a deep love for others: “If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.” – 1 John 3:17-18 (NIV)

Prayer Starter: “Father, allow me to see others as You see them, and to love them and care for them as You would.”

Resonate Core Devotionals: Day 15

September 23, 2013 | By | No Comments

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Outward

Author: Amanda Holder

“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.” James 1:27

It’s so easy to make religion over complicated, to become overwhelmed by the rules and the rituals. Yet, God’s desires are clear and straight to the point: love Him and love your neighbor. If you focus on those two things, you can begin to see that everything else points back to that. In this passage, James instructs us to love our neighbor, the orphans and widows, and keep oneself unstained by the world by focusing on the only thing in this world that truly satisfies, God. How are you over complicating things? What could you do to return to a pure and undefiled religion?

Prayer Starter: Lord, please help us to not over complicate things. Let us seek a pure, undefiled religion, one where you are at the center. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil so that we can keep ourselves unstained by this world.

Resonate Core Devotionals: Day 14

September 22, 2013 | By | No Comments

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 Inward

Author: Charlie Holder

And let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near. – Hebrew 10:24-25

There’s quite a bit of group imagery in this verse: us, one another, together. The Bible shows us that God’s design is not for us to be alone, in both relationships (Gen 2:18) and community (Eph 4:16). It is by design that we function collectively, working together to build each other up in love, each having a unique role that complements another (Rom 12:4).

There’s also an active piece to this verse: stir up. Different translations use different words (provoke, stir up, stimulate), but there’s a clear focus on a body of believes actively pursuing Christ together.

Jesus says that we will be known as his disciples by our love for one another (John 13:35). So participating in community is not only by God’s design, but it is reinforced by Jesus himself. Actively working together as a group, who love each other, love Christ, and love the world, prepares us for the day when Christ returns or we are called home.

Prayer Starter: Lord, draw us together as a body and help us to truly know what it is to actively pursue Christ together.

Resonate Core Devotionals: Day 13

September 21, 2013 | By | No Comments

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Inward

Author: Jody Kerr

Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. -James 5:16 

Who among us does not want to be healed of something? Who among us would like all our sins and shortcomings forgiven? James 5:16 gives us insight into how these can happen, but let’s back up one verse. Verse 15 says prayer can heal the sick and get forgiveness of sin because the Lord will raise him up. Verse 16 starts off with “Therefore”. Therefore,adv. For that reason. Prayer heals and leads to forgiveness THEREFORE confess your sins to each other and pray for each other SO THAT you may be healed. Most commentators I’ve read believe this word “healed” means both physically and spiritually.

In our American Christianity we have no problem with praying for someone. Where our problem lies in confessing our sins and faults. We battle this not only with each other but to God as well. But if you keep your secrets to yourself how can anyone pray specifically for your needs? Luke 11:9-10 says, “Everyone who asks receives.” How can someone ask for you to be forgiven if they do not know of the shortcoming?

We are here to help each other! If you do not have someone (friend, spouse, neighbor) who you feel like you can trust opening up to, then this should be your prayer: “Lord, send me someone . . .”

 

Resonate Core Devotionals: Day 12

September 20, 2013 | By | No Comments

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Inward

Author: Jonathan Pascual

Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. – Ephesians 4:29-32

Why is it so important for the Body of Christ to have healthy relationships? Because it glorifies the Lord. He desires for us to be unified. And through that unity we become a witness for Christ to the world:

“I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be one as we are one— I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete unity. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me.” – John 17:22-23 Whether we are aware of it or not, someone is always watching. Our relationships, our speech, our actions – they are all up for grabs to be scrutinized. And when an outsider observes how we believers act towards one another – they either see unity and Christ-likeness or they see a bunch of people acting just like the world.

We MUST be reminded of how everything we do and everything we are can be daily submitted to the authority of Christ. There is much at stake – our own sanctification, the unity of the Body, and the opportunity to be a gospel witness to the world. Maybe for you, sarcasm is an issue in daily conversation. Maybe you harbor even a little bitterness towards another believer. Whatever it is, make yourself aware of it, confess it, and repent and move forward in pursuit of holiness and unity that glorifies our Lord and proclaims his presence within the church.

Prayer Starter: “Lord, make me more like Christ in my speech and in my actions…”