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Monday, November 28, 2011

Kingdom Manna

Found

Luke 9:11, “When the crowds found out about it, they followed him; and he welcomed them, and spoke to them about the kingdom of God, and healed those who needed to be cured.”

He welcomed them. All of them. The curious, the hungry, the smug, the infiltrators, the sly. Welcomed them with words. True words. Not platitudes or clich├ęs or empty pledges.

Healing words. Hope filled words.

Not flung at them as a bone to a starving dog. Not in superficial tolerance for the sake of His reputation. Not as a publicity ruse.

New words. Necessary words.

Giving of His time and His care. Glad for the opportunity to share His kingdom. As a gracious host ministers to his guest’s needs; so did Jesus respond to each individual.

Grace words.

One who listens. One who cares. One who searches and soothes and saves. One who stays. Now and forevermore.

Oath words.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 107:20

he sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from destruction.



Thursday, November 24, 2011

Kingdom Manna

Grace

John 4:34, Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of him who sent me and to complete his work.”

When a newborn infant calls, everyone responds. Perhaps with stumbling steps, groggy eyes, or tentative touch, but eagerly. With joy. With delight to serve. We are theirs to command.

How quickly a few months/years change our responses as we evaluate demands according to our agendas. Wills clash. We bargain, juggle, coerce, manipulate, plead, insist.

When Jesus offers us life, we listen. Eager to hear of this gift. Grateful to relinquish the burdens our hearts hold. We respond with joy. With delight we pledge service. We commit to His authority.

How soon though Lord before I find my will rubbing against Yours? And I begin to complain. Or resist. Or outright disobey. Unwilling to see the barnacles of self and sin scraped off me. Unable to see the new maturity growing within when I do Your will.

When will I realize that Your ways develop growth. With joy. With delight. May I find the contentment of obedience, Lord.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 40: 8

I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Kingdom Manna

Grace

Romans 14:7, “For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

For many centuries, in many nations, the code of rule included liege lords or stewards of monarchy or sultans. To these leaders the people under them brought tribute. Yearly supplies of food. Animals. Men when necessary to build or to fight. In return they received protection, justice, a measure of peace. A fair trade under honest leaders. A harsh existence under cruelty.

Supply and demand.

“For all the people to you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord.” His kingdom over stretches all the earth over all the centuries over all that exists. He comes deserving everything we can garner. He comes with outstretched hands. But not to take—rather to give. Not a meager existence measured by whims of men and nature, but a richness of life immeasurable in content.

Supplication and deliverance.

For the asking. For a turning from the world’s methods to God’s. For simple words. Spoken in faith and trust and hope.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 116:18

I will pay my vows to the Lord in the presence of all his people,

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Kingdom Manna

Grace

Matthew 21: 31, “Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said, “The first.” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, the tax collectors and prostitutes are going into the kingdom of God ahead of you.”

Compliance with the law is expected from all citizens. Prompt adherence to command is expected within all protection services: police, fire, military, medical. Parents consistently expect obedience from children. These boundaries protect us from anarchy, confusion, and chaos.

Submission.

Control is preferable.We choose when. We decide what. We create our plans.

Substitution.

Confident in status, confident in prestige, incredulous priests heard Jesus say tax collectors and prostitutes had priority. Those with no credits. Those with no credentials. Except one. Belief. “This is indeed the will of my Father, that all who see the Son and believe in him may have eternal life; and I will raise them up on the last day.”

Simplicity.

Cast my will into Yours, Lord. Crush any part that desires an alternative of no substance. Help me to choose Your way.

Sacrifice.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 116:17

I will offer to you a thanksgiving sacrifice and call on the name of the Lord.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Kingdom Manna

Grace

Luke 18:14, “I tell you, this man went down to his home justified rather than the other; for all who exalt themselves will be humbled, but all who humble themselves will be exalted.”

Over and over again the people questioned John the Baptist. “Are you the One?” Their numbers grew—disciples followed—religious leaders came. A heady experience. An explosion of mission. An opportunity for status.

“There is One to come greater,” John replied. “Whose sandals I am not worthy to carry.”

Offering proof of merit, however, the Pharisee prayed a litany of “at least I am not…”. As a precaution against what he was? As a protection of his position? Pompous. Prideful. So bound by his own righteousness. So dishonest even in prayer.

The tax collector would not even lift his eyes. Could not face his God. Could plead only for mercy.

Over and over again I attempt to justify my errors by listing my successes. Or to bolster my failures with smugness at another’s faults. And am glad at least I am not a Pharisee.

Teach me Lord, true humility. The kind that does not recognize itself because there are eyes for no one else except You.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 119:15

I will meditate on your precepts,

and fix my eyes on your ways.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Kingdom Manna

Grace

Matthew 18:23, “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves.”

Closed doors. Endings. Completed work. Often we need to finalize projects before we begin anew. Consider our accomplishments, resources, status before the next commitment.

Taxes each year. Spring housecleaning. Job reviews. Monthly bills. Oil changes. All maintenance designed to keep our many responsibilities on track. Helpful inventories to give our juggled schedules checks and balances. We settle our accounts.

Communion. Our spiritual check. Where we have the opportunity to search our hearts and be searched. To root out the bias that is growing. To re-evaluate our choices. To re-establish our priorities.

Together we stand before our King. Yet one by one He evaluates our circumstances. Am I pleading for mercy but holding a hardened heart? Am I seeking forgiveness while harboring bitterness or envy? Am I praying with habitual disbelief?

Cleansed, forgiven, restored are the acts of this gift of sacrament. If I am willing to come to the table honestly.

Thank you, Lord, that You wish to settle accounts with me. Thank you for Your thresholds.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 25:12-13

Who are they that fear the Lord?

He will teach them the way that they should choose,

They will abide in prosperity,

and their children shall possess the land.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Kingdom Manna

Grace

Matthew 18:4, Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.


From a humble home so it

seemed this tiny babe born. So

poor a manger his bed.

Inheritance but servitude.


Yet a kingdom of glory left he behind. Grandeur

beyond belief.

Set aside for love.


Far from country journeyed they

men of wealth. Credentials great,

influence vast. Knowledge unsurpassed by

peers. Power.


Yet to this infant came these three to kneel. Bringing

tribute. Their homage

set aside for worship.


First position a place we all seek.

For accolades and self-esteem.

Boast of success, brag of

diligence. Ownership.


Yet He praises this child. Become so. Welcome such

a heart. Precious life.

Set aside for Me.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 101:6

I will look with favor on the faithful in the land,

so that they may live with me;

whoever walks in the way that is blameless

shall minister to me.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kingdom Manna

Grace

Mark 10:14, But when Jesus saw this, he was indignant and said to them; “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”

His own disciples saw the children as an intrusion. They rebuked the parents for bothering Jesus. His time, His person, was too important to deal with those too young to comprehend His teaching.

Encroachment.

Even parents and teachers often dismiss spiritual questions as just curiosity and either ignore or talk down answers. ‘When you’re older—you’ll understand,’ we say. Except maybe it’s we who don’t understand.

His truth penetrates all ages. The children hear clearly, respond honestly, question often. They participate in the relationship without guile, without guilt. Moment by moment.

Expectancy.

Everyday Lord, help me to come to You with a child’s heart, open to new experiences. Willing to live an adventure. Learning to live in Your kingdom. Willing to be taught. Wide-eyed with wonder.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 78:4

We will not hide them from their children; we will tell to the coming generation

the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might, and the wonders that he has done.

 
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