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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kingdom Manna

Intercede

Luke 11:20, But if it is by the finger of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.


Clothed in peace

the demoniac rests among

ruins, ready to return to life.

Restored.

Clasped in Jesus’ words.


Legions flee crashing

down cliffs. A mute voice

freed. From lunacy a son loosed.

Returned.

Driven by Jesus’ words.


Creation fashioned, shaped,

molded in Christ’s hand.

Life forged from chaos.

Revealed.

Formed in Jesus’ words.


Lives drawn from demon grip.

Finger of God casts out. Rescue.

Dungeon now kingdom home.

Renewed.

Spoken by Jesus’ words.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 102:20

to hear the groans of the prisoners,

to set free those who were doomed to die;

Monday, September 26, 2011

Kingdom Manna

Intercede

Mark 3:24, if a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand.

Community, city or country, when challenged with an outside threat or calamity, tend to pool all their resources, set aside their differences, and gather together to face the storm. Selfless acts of heroism, kindness and compassion form a stalwart barrier.

Unless.

Crooks, despots or counterfeiters are the leaders. Then their response to danger or disclosure aims for self-protection, escape, rejected responsibility. Voids open. Innocents are left defenseless. Power structures, governments collapse from within.

Unstable.

Christ comes to stand for us against the powers of evil. Powers of darkness, disease, despair. He does not leave us or reject us or divide us but gathers us under His care and counsel. Gives us His strength to handle the storm, the onslaught. Prays for us.

Until.

Calm is restored. Chains are broken. Covenant is renewed. Thank you Lord that You never leave us or forsake us. Thank you for Your unceasing protection from both within and without. In Your keeping we can remain undivided.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 37:24

though we stumble, we shall not fall headlong,

for the Lord holds us by the hand.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kingdom Manna

Key

Mark 4:8, Other seed fell into good soil and brought forth grain, growing up and increasing and yielding thirty and sixty and a hundred-fold.

Land of opportunity, land of plenty, land of promise. Israel could not receive the fruits of the land until they crossed the river, settled the country, and planted their crops.

Farmers cannot eat the produce of the harvest without the planting. We cannot experience the fruit of God’s word without reading and thinking and praying and living. “I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.” Jesus clearly defines the good soil where we can grow and yield abundance.

Lord, I hear Your words and my desire is to be in good soil. My mind grasps the requirement; my life feels so far removed. How exactly can I abide? I want stepping stones, markers of accomplishment.

Fruit thirty and sixty and a hundred-fold is beyond my comprehension too. So is the time of eternity. It all seems so removed from to-day. Yet it is now that Your seeds are sown, and nurtured and grow. Now is the time to plant. Keep me fast in You, Lord, in spite of my questions and ignorance. Keep me growing up.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 85:12-13

The Lord will give what is good, and our land will yield its increase.

Righteousness will go before him, and will make a path for his steps.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Kingdom Manna

Key

Mark 4:7, Other seed fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no grain.

Puzzle pieces scattered across the table, face up, ready for the challenge on a rainy afternoon. Family, friends, hot chocolate, and fellowship bring rest and refreshment to a dreary day. Our spirits are lifted. Memories are knit into our minds.

Long schedules stretched throughout the day, filled with chore fragments drain our stamina even in sunny weather. Stress builds as we attempt to match all the pieces-all the needs-all the obligations. Fatigue empties us. Tiredness creeps into our hearts.

Possibilities invigorate us. Potential opportunities invite our interest. But too often, Lord, I forget to look ahead. To check my other commitments. And I end up choking a time of growth in a already packed lifestyle. I want more than I can handle and I allow both good and false lures to smother me.

Let my mind and heart be attuned to Your values Lord. Help me to learn to simplify my busyness, to make time for concerns that count for eternity. May all my pieces be focused in You. A perfect match.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 94:18-19

When I thought, “My foot is slipping,” Your steadfast love, O Lord, held me up.

When the cares of my heart are many, your consolations cheer my soul.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Kingdom Manna

Key

Mark 4:5, Other seed fell on rocky ground, where it did not have much soil, and it sprang up quickly, since it had no depth of soil.

Heat scorches. Hot sun rays burn away new grass. Seasons of drought decimate plants not rooted deep in soil and moisture. The land becomes hard, brittle, open gashes of cracked dry ground.

Hot winds whirl through our lives. Raising temperatures of anxiety, worry, fear. Starting small fires. Is the company going under? What will the doctor’s report say? How can I pay these bills? If God really cares, why is this happening? When our roots are shallow our faith can split open. When our seeds are planted deep in God’s word He reminds us, “I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through the fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”

Hold me firmly in Your grip, Lord, I pray, when harsh storms attack and troubles dry up my feelings and hopes and trust. Do not let me fall away. Keep me rooted and grounded in Your soil-deep, deep down-sustained by You.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 112:6-7

For the righteous will never be moved; they will be remembered forever.

They are not afraid of evil tidings; their hearts are firm, secure in the Lord.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Kingdom Manna

Key

Mark 4:3, “Listen! A sower went out to sow.”

Our trail began at the ocean. We followed a narrow well-beaten, well-defined path overlooking sheer cliffs. Gradually the thin line curved inland toward a meadow where it became difficult to follow among the tall grass and bright flowers. We continued through a dark tunnel, next to a recently burned hillside and eventually came to a grove of trees next to a murmuring stream. The entire hike could be capsuled in picture post-cards. Feet weary we sat at the picnic tables to empty our back-packs and eat. Somehow the simple sandwiches felt like a banquet.

What a variety of terrain within a few miles radius! We could not count the assortment of foliage we passed. We started at one end of a path and followed, carrying our supplies with us. We went with an attitude of expectation and uncertainty.

Out to sow carrying the word of God, explained Jesus to His disciples. The path is where the word is heard. Sometimes clearly and well-defined, sometimes slightly hidden, but present, throughout the journey. Distance, direction, and diet all bound together.

Walk with me along the path, Lord, especially along the crumbling cliffs and dark caves. Keep me moving onward with Your word in my heart and in my hand.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 119:105

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Kingdom Manna

Key

Matthew 13:30, “Let both of them grow together until the harvest; and at harvest time I will tell the reapers, Collect the weeds first and bind them in bundles to be burned but gather the wheat into my barn.”


Due to a combination of late rains, busy schedules and unexpected detours, our lawn became neglected. The grass was so high neither the dog nor we could find his balls. The neighborhood cats were happy. They crept through the tall grass stalking birds and mice.

But the weeds are not hidden. They stood above the grass in odd places. It was a surprise to see the spots they inhabited. I would never have known unless they grew to such a height.

Deep within me Lord are weeds that I do not even recognize. You know what they are and where they are. And alongside are the seeds You have planted, slowly growing, taking a very long time.

Both together. Both battling for my attention and interest. Both affecting my choices and my character. Yet You have promised deliverance. A time when the dross will be consumed. And Your promise protects me in the meantime. Thank you Lord for Your gathering time.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 75:2

At the set time that I appoint I will judge with equity.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Kingdom Manna

Key

Matthew 13:26, “So when the plants came up and bore grain then the weeds appeared as well.”


Unexpected the weeds came. Product of an enemy in the middle of the night. Purpose to disrupt, corrupt the crop. Create a blight, cause despair.

How many times have we experienced serious setbacks, debilitating blows to good intentions, worthwhile goals, gracious gifts? Time, money, talents, health attacked just as we begin to see buds of hope.

Unfair, we cry!

Hear Jesus’ counsel. “If you belonged to the world, the world would love you as it’s own. Because you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world-therefore the world hates you.” And Satan roams the world looking for a chance to devour. Whatever the cause there can be a sense of calm in the midst of my trouble.

Unity with the Lord means I can expect trouble. And if prepared, then I can stand my ground knowing the privilege of participating in the battle, as a kingdom member. Side by side with fellow believers, sustained in the Lord’s presence. Side by side with opportunity to witness Jesus’ protection.

Hold me in Your refuge Lord in times of trouble when I feel overwhelmed. Help me to stay on Your ground.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 37:39

The salvation of the righteous is from the Lord;

he is their refuge in the time of trouble.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Kingdom Manna

Key

Matthew 13:24, He put before them another parable: “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to someone who sowed good seed in his field.”

My immediate question is why would someone not plant good seed. It makes no sense to work for a harvest without beginning from the expectation that all the labor and time and cost will result in profit.

God asks us the same question. “Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which does not satisfy?” How are my days and thoughts and energy spent? Is my focus directed toward good seed, or do I just plant whatever is at hand—regardless of quality?

Manna that truly sustains is Your seed, Lord. Help me to take the time to think through all my commitments and priorities and responsibilities to see if they are truly good according to Your measure. Am I capable of doing thankless tasks with a servant heart, or am I doing any tasks with a bitter spirit, creating bad seed.

Guard me in Your refuge, Lord. In Your field. Then all that I produce will be a harvest of hope. A rich harvest.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 34:8

O taste and see that the Lord is good;

happy are those who take refuge in him.

 
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