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Prayer Exercises

These transformative exercises are provided for you to interact with the weekly Sunday sermon through reflection and prayer.
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  • Read the following:

    Deuteronomy 30:15-20 New International Version (NIV)

    15 See, I set before you today life and prosperity, death and destruction.16 For I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in obedience to him, and to keep his commands, decrees and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess.

    17 But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, 18 I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess.

    19 This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live 20 and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life, and he will give you many years in the land he swore to give to your fathers, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

    John 14:21 New International Version (NIV)

    21 Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me. The one who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love them and show myself to them.”

    There were two main themes taught about obedience this past Sunday:

    1. We do not obey God to make Him happy.
    2. Obedience really does lead to life.

    Reflection Questions:

    1. Have you ever been caught in thinking you have to do the “right” thing in order to make God happy? What are some negative consequences attached to this theology?
    2. Have you thought of God as Someone who is very hard to make happy?
    3. How new is the thought that we obey to allow His life to flow in us and through us? That obedience actually leads to blessing? How does this shift your view of obedience?

    Think about a place or take time to ask the Spirit to reveal a place to you where there is an invitation to obey. Is it a practice of giving that helps to loosen the grip of money on you? Is it an attitude towards someone that needs a change? Is it wanting more freedom from an addiction/compulsion that you have that blocks God’s peace? It can be anything.

    Write it down here:

    ___________________________________________

    Write down what God says obedience will bring you (as found in these verses).

    ___________________________________________

    ___________________________________________

    ___________________________________________

    ___________________________________________

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    God says that our obedience actually communicates our love back to Him. He then describes our experience in light of obedience out of love: Jesus says that we will then experience the Father’s love and Jesus’ love and that they will show themselves to us. We will experience God Himself through obedience out of a motive of love! If you began to believe this, how would it change your interaction with obedience?

    Obedience is difficult. Even when it is out of love. Christ obeyed the will of His Father, all the way to the cross.

    Philippians 2:8 New International Version (NIV)

    And being found in appearance as a man,
        he humbled himself
        by becoming obedient to death—
            even death on a cross!

    Hebrews 12:2 tells us how Jesus handled the suffering attached to obedience, the suffering of “giving up.” He looked ahead, He had the big picture. There’s a battle with something that is mentioned in the scriptures that describe Christ’s sufferings: shame. Shame is so prevalent for us today!

    Hebrews 12:2 New International Version (NIV)

    2 …fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

    John Piper writes about what it meant that Jesus “despised” the shame in his suffering/obedience:

    Listen to me, Shame, do you see that joy in front of me? Compared to that, you are less than nothing. You are not worth comparing to that! I despise you. You think you have power. Compared to the joy before me, you have none. Joy. Joy. Joy. That is my power! Not you, Shame. You are worthless. You are powerless.

    You think you can distract me. I won’t even look at you. I have a joy set before me. Why would I look at you? You are ugly and despicable. And you are almost finished. You cover me now as with a shroud. Before you can say, ‘So there!’ I will throw you off like a filthy rag. I will put on my royal robe.

    You think you are great, because even last night you made my disciples run away. You are a fool, Shame. You are a despicable fool. That abandonment, that loneliness, this cross — these tools of yours — they are all my sacred suffering, and will save my disciples, not destroy them. You are a fool. Your filthy hands fulfill holy prophecy.

    Farewell, Shame. It is finished.

    Jesus’ obedience opened up life eternal for all of us! His obedience took Him into the darkness of death and came out on the side of resurrection and light.

    Go back to what you wrote down in regards to the obedience God is inviting you into. Ask the Holy Spirit to give you faith to believe that it is true – obedience leads to life! Obedience out of love, leading us to walk in the light of the kingdom ways of Jesus.

    If these words against shame help you on the path of obedience, use them!

    Open yourself up to the life, to the future joy that your obedience will bring.

    Look for it in your life, be ready to receive it.

     

     

     

     

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