Midweek Connection – April 24, 2019

Silence and Centering     

Isaiah 25:1 (NIV)

Lord, you are my God; I will exalt you and praise your name,
for in perfect faithfulness you have done wonderful things,
things planned long ago.

Confession:

Dear Lord, we come before You as Your children to give You honor and praise. You are the One and Only true God, the Giver of life and the Sustainer of our souls. We are grateful for Your grace, how You love us, how you call us to be Your hands and feet. Responding to Your great mercy, we need to confess how we have sinned and fallen short of the people You  created us to be. We have said and done mean and selfish things, we have hurt others, and we have lived as if the universe revolves around us. We have strayed from our worship of You and gone our own way. We are sorry. Please forgive us. Cause us to truly repent and turn around to face You. In Jesus’ Name we pray, Amen.

PAUSE FOR  2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

Reading & Devotional:

“I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.” John 11:25

Through the resurrection of Jesus, we have been given the opportunity to live life in a new way. Romans 6:4 says, “We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.” The power of the resurrection is not just over our deaths, but over our lives. God didn’t just pay for our freedom for all of eternity, but for right now—for this very moment. He’s calling you and me to live a resurrected lifestyle. He’s ushering us into a resurrection culture.

Romans 8:9 says, “You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.” 2 Corinthians 5:16-17 even says, “From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Your life is changed because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Because Christ rose from the dead, you have been raised from spiritual death.

Too often we are content to live our lives apart from the present reality of new life in Jesus. Too often we are satisfied living according to the flesh when we have been given a whole new way of living according the very Spirit of God who dwells within us as believers. Romans 8:1-2 says, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life has set you free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.” We have been freed from condemnation through the new law of the Spirit ratified by the death and resurrection of Christ. “There is therefore now no condemnation.” Let that sink in for a minute. Through the grace of God, not by anything you could ever do, you have been freed from condemnation. The only one who could ever truly condemn you is now your heavenly Father. You are the child of the only Judge, and he has offered you continual and uncompromising pardon because of his love for you.

And past being pardoned from condemnation, Romans 8 tells us that we have now been crowned as co-heirs with Christ. Romans 8:16-17 says, “The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ.” Because of the life we have been given in the Spirit, we are “fellow heirs with Christ.” I’m not sure we even fully understand all that means for us. So often we live as if we are forced into submission to the world. We live according to the principles of the flesh rather than life in the Spirit. You have been freed from slavery to sin. You have been freed from the condemnation of the world. Christ defeated the enemy at the cross, and through him you have obtained total and complete victory. You are now crowned with Christ and given his authority to see heaven come to earth through your life.

And most importantly, Romans 8 concludes by telling us of the incredible love available to us in our resurrection and victory with Christ. Romans 8:37-39 says, “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” There is nothing you or anyone else could do to separate you from the love of God. Through Christ’s resurrection, you have been offered unchanging and unshakable love. Living life in the Spirit is living with the constant knowledge that you are and will forever be loved.

Spend time today allowing the word and presence of God to stir up your desire to live according to the Spirit rather than the flesh. We’ll look tomorrow at how we can practically live this new life available to us, but for today simply allow God to reveal his unceasing love for you.

PAUSE FOR 2 MINUTES OF SILENCE

The Our Father (slowly pray this)
Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For yours is the kingdom, the power, and the glory forever, Amen.

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