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Monday, December 31, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


Hebrews 11:10, “For he looked forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.”


A fresh calendar, a new slate is often how we anticipate a new year or month, week or sometimes even a free day, and yet there also lingers the undone from yesterday and conflicting emotions.

Are we running ahead with anticipation or running away?  Standing on tiptoe to seek God’s vision, or burying our heads under staggering concerns.

Abraham dwelt in a tent and dreamed of God’s city. Some might think it only as a myth, a fairy tale, or an exaggerated sense of imagination, yet he knew the architect personally and already had been the recipient of God’s grace. So the disconnect between daily life on desert plains, sandstorms, and unfamiliar routes and his long-term destination were not incompatible, not an emotional escape.

Every day he stood on that farseeing hope for guidance, choices and purpose. Was it easier then to see his horizon without the time clock frenzy that interrupts our ability to pause and dream and wonder with awe?

Lord, please set each of us firmly on the path You choose for us to journey and give us hearts to live into Your vision. No matter how difficult a day may become, keep our faith fixed on Your foundations as we build our lives with Your words.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 9:9-10

“The Lord also will be a stronghold for the oppressed,
A stronghold in times of trouble,
And those who know Thy name will put their trust in Thee;
For Thou, O Lord, hast not forsaken those who seek Thee.”

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Friday, December 28, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels nor rulers, not things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, not depth, not anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



“…What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people.” John 1:4

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



“Those who go out weeping, bearing the seed for sowing shall come home with shouts of joy, carrying their sheaves.” Psalm 126: 6

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



“This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all.” I John 1:5

Monday, December 24, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



“The light shines in the darkness and the darkness did not overcome it.” John 1: 5

Friday, December 21, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Nomad

Was it hard to awake
every morning to an
unfamiliar atmosphere
whether wind or bird or scent?

Groggily leave life-long
territory, childhood memories,
well-worn paths walked
even in sleep.

Focus now on present terrain
geographic manual
newly minted.
Wonder at nomad lifestyle.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     We all need some degree of structure in our lives in order to accomplish anything but we each have a comfort zone on that scale. Where is yours?

2.     How do you cope when pushed out of it? Do you see it as a word from the Lord or as an intrusion? Or both?

3.     Do you see all of your life as under God’s authority to command or only certain parts?

4.     Read John 12: 49-50.


Share: Which is harder for you to experience each morning, a day of routine or a day of interruptions? Literally or spiritually?

Monday, December 17, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


Hebrews 11:9, “By faith he stayed for a time in the land he had been promised, as in a foreign land, living in tents, as did Isaac and Jacob, who were heirs with him of the same promise.”

Nomads who didn’t follow mercantile routes or grazing lands, weather patterns or time-set agendas, but waited for a word—the word—from God alone when to stay and when to go.

Were they anxious for the signal to move when as outsiders they were regarded with such distrust they would post a sentry each night? Or so settled in comfort and plenty they dreaded the call to go. Perhaps even pleaded a little—we still have some tent repairs, a child is teething, the lambs and calves are too wobbly to travel a distance.

Or, a house divided. Some up early to eagerly explore the new geography and meet the neighbors. Others huddled near familiar daily routines grasping at permanence in fluctuating days.

All waiting—all trusting in a word spoken—looking to be shaped by kairos time instead of daily uncertainty. Learning to live by spiritual roots instead of geographic. Knowing that the when and the where and the why and for how long belonged to the Lord.

Lord, please guide us into a new way of living each day. Ground us into Your word and Your Spirit so that our foundation is Your will, Your Purpose, and in Your timing. Help us to be willing to change our agendas at the sound of Your voice.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 16: 5-6

“The Lord is the portion of my inheritance and my cup; Thou dost support my lot.
The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places;
Indeed my heritage is beautiful to me.”

Friday, December 14, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Leave


Leave behind all that

is familiar. Go to a new

land. Brings both sorrow

and anticipation. Grief

and adventure. Most difficult

letting go well-worn habits,

comfort routines. Taking one

last look before new inheritance.

Now go.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Regardless of whether you love to move from place to place or resist ever leaving, what does your heart ache for the most when a change is required? What does it anticipate the most?

2.     What ‘move’ do you sense God is nudging you to consider in your life right now: emotionally or physically or spiritually?

3.     Is it drawing you closer to the Lord in trust or putting up a wedge in your relationship? Why?



Share: How has God blessed a step of faith for you this week?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Hebrews 11:8, “By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to set out for a place that he was to receive as an inheritance; and he set out, not knowing where he was going.”

I live in a city where the statistics say that 50% of the population leaves after two years. Daily driving around parked moving vans is a given. If a person stays four, then he is considered a real resident. I came for a year and am now into my seventh, but feel like a visitor. There are many days that I still don’t have a clue where I’m going—literally. I have become somewhat of an expert on wrong turns though and what streets to avoid.

New journeys often start with excitement and anticipation, just like beginning faith steps. But then the map is backwards, a road doesn’t exist, the cart’s wheels fall off and suddenly it’s all overwhelming. That faith walk is as uncertain as the changing weather patterns. Instead of answering a nudge to become kinder, we find ourselves crabbier than ever. We start looking back to what was instead of ahead to new possibilities.

Spiritually and emotionally some days are a challenge to face, either because we have no idea what to expect, or we know exactly what the day will bring and do not want to participate at all. Like a stubborn toddler the word ‘no’ rushes up within, even if we keep silent.

At least that’s what I often contemplate when I forget whose hand is holding onto me and who knows every step on the route He has prepared, no matter how many hours, months or years the process will take. The final destination is His chosen place. What I do need to do is walk a little closer.

Lord, I pray to obey with faith and go forward as you lead that today I may live in Your inheritance, in accord with Your purposes, and trust whatever steps You choose for me to take.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 131:2

“But I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother;
my soul is like a weaned child that is with me.”


Friday, December 7, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Begin

According to given blueprint
Noah built the ark. An
unimaginable feat requiring
sacrifice, ridicule, perseverance.

After forty days of rain that
no one had ever seen or spoken of;
a catastrophe requiring endurance
yet resting on fellowship
with God.

Again a call. Blasting away
previous steps of obedience
into minor decisions. Requiring now
a faith never tested, a
walk without specific details.

Leave safety of known work
familiar surroundings. Begin!

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry




Reflection Questions


1.     When you take on a project or responsibility, do you work better within a prescribed outline, or a creative freefall, or somewhere in between?

2.     What happens when you are required work outside your style?

3.     How do you cope emotionally and spiritually?

4.     To whom do you feel you are accountable for the end result? Does that ever determine your courage? Why or why not?


Share: What is the riskiest step of faith you have taken? 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Genesis 8:15-15, “Then God said to Noah, ‘Go out of the ark…so that they may abound on the earth and be fruitful and multiply.’ So Noah went out with….”


As we read and share the story of Noah, we often stop there in complete amazement. And yet there is more. We often stop short of Your purposes, Lord. Or I do. I sometimes reach a point, an experience that is so amazing that I stop and stay.

Yet, You do not always call us to one plan, or one purpose only. Sometimes there is another stepping-stone to take. Perhaps not for ourselves, but maybe for another, that together we might be fruitful and multiply. Despite the long years of building the ark, Noah’s work did not end there; perhaps it only began there.

And if our destination is eternity, then we really do not have an end, a stopping point. We are to be ready to follow, to take new adventures, to accept new responsibilities each day.

Please help us to recognize and complete the task You assign, and then be willing and prepared to be moved onward to the next. May it be more important to stay the course with You than to linger with satisfaction short of Your intent.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 111:7-8

“The work of His hands are truth and justice; all His precepts are sure.
They are upheld forever and ever; they are performed in truth and uprightness.”

Friday, November 30, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Impossible


Some mornings it is
difficult to face known tasks,
even the commonplace raise
doubts of competence.

How then to wake each
day to new assignments,
strange blueprints with
odd vocabulary, unseen diagrams.

Unable to explain to scoffers.

Even own family gives support while
worry lines crinkle their eyes.
Fewer now the blind call to
build impossible creations.

Yet still possibilities nudge
when we truly listen.
Fresh words,
unseen—unimagined.

Unique opportunities to obey.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Sometimes the thought of building an ark might seem easier than forgiving another, or setting boundaries in our lives. It is often easier to do a task than to change our hearts. Has the Lord asked you to do something seemingly impossible?

2.     Did you find it a hopeful challenge, or a frightening obstacle, or somewhere in between?

3.     Do you find it easier to respond when a task is private or public? Why?


Share: How did the Lord enable you to step out in faith?


Monday, November 26, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Genesis 7:5, “And Noah did all that the Lord commanded him.”

There’s a quote from Lewis Carroll’s Queen, in Alice in Wonderland, where she states, “Why sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.” I often think this idea must apply even more so to Noah as he built that ark.

Scripture tells us he built it in faith, in trust, and in confidence because he believed God. But I can’t help but wonder if his first reaction was confusion over what God said, doubt over his personal ability, and awkwardness as he tried to ask God to explain words and concepts totally foreign to his world.

It almost reads like an ancient fantasy or science fiction novel, a work of imagination. How do you build something you’ve never heard of before? How do you grasp the impossible?

Yet Noah did—all of it—in faith—for years and years.

Each morning, before breakfast, he prepared for a day of surprise and challenge. Did he rise quickly with excitement to the day’s new demands, or quietly savor a few moments of awe in expectation? Did he ever balk, just a little, when his muscles ached, or his family complained, or the people around him ridiculed?

Lord, only by Your Spirit can we be faithful in confusion, persevere through doubt and take steps of faith despite our weaknesses. Please teach us to trust in Your commands no matter how hard or complicated they may be. Help us to meet each day with anticipation—listening for Your nudges—ready to walk in Your will.



Psalm of Worship: Psalm 50:23

“‘He who offers a sacrifice of thanksgiving honors Me;
And to him who orders his way aright
I shall show the salvation of God.’” 

Friday, November 23, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Clatter


There is a proverb somewhere
that says even a fool appears
wise if he does not speak.
Yet silence has hidden
away in our world of
continuous sound: communication
we say. Advanced technology
at the push of a key;
send, delete, fax, text,
instant access requiring
instant response. React.
No time to hear
what is being actually said,
no time—to recognize fools.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     How much do you think external noise interferes with our soul thinking?

2.     What noise is easy for you to ignore? Why

3.     When do conversations around you make it impossible to focus?

4.     Do you think you need more silence in your life? Why or why not?



Share: Do you seek out silence or does it make you uncomfortable?



Monday, November 19, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry

Job 13:5, “If you would only keep silent, that would be your wisdom!”


I heard a story once that Susanna Wesley, mother of nineteen children, would pull her apron over her head when she wanted to pray.  And her children knew not to disturb her in her quiet place.

Most of us have more opportunities to find corners or methods of solitude for reflection and prayers, yet for me sometimes the quiet instigates the clamor. I talk my prayers instead of keeping silent. When another is sharing a problem I want to jump in with a solution, instead of listening with support and comfort.

One friend could not bear a silent house so would keep a tv or radio on, set at barely a murmur, because she didn’t want to be distracted from her projects, but complete silence made it impossible for her to be think clearly.

Or how often do we turn up volume to tune out other noises that interfere with our own personal noise? We seem to need to fill quiet pauses with conversation, to cover over silence with any words—regardless how empty they might be.

“Where shall the word be found, where will the word
Resound? Not here, there is not enough silence...”

Lord, please quiet our tumult and our tension, and teach us to be still. Quiet enough to hear Your answers to the prayers we clamor at You. At peace enough to be willing to wait for wisdom instead of fretting into foolishness. Teach us to be wise.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 62: 1-2

“My soul waits in silence for God only; from Him is my salvation.
He only is my rock and my salvation,
My stronghold; I shall not be greatly shaken.”

Friday, November 16, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Truth?

Pilate’s question
‘What is truth’
continues through
the decades; man’s
challenge to define
individual steps,
choose a personal
path directed by
own compass.

Working by external
gratification
missing true
relationship. Your
heartbeat of love;
waits patiently,
promised way
now and eternal
only answer.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Why do we sometimes have difficulty accepting God’s word at face value?

2.     What personal barriers do we try to put up to protect ourselves in case we’re wrong?

3.     Have you missed out on opportunities because you couldn’t trust yourself with what you heard God say?

4.     Did it change you response the next time?


  Share: What signposts have helped you recognize the Lord’s truth in foggy circumstances?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



John 14:6, “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.’”


Lord, we are always looking for direction. And too often always bewildered in our purpose. We ask for affirmation, confirmation, and certification. You gently remind, “It is Me.” And we reply, “but how?”

You give us Yourself and instead we look for concrete steps to follow. You offer a relationship and we look for a plan. Or a program or a specific task to measure and to accomplish.

Why? Because if our human relationships are so difficult then we expect one with You will be beyond our ability? Which is true on our part and yet not on Yours.

I don’t understand why we who look so longingly at love reject Your way. Or try to manufacture our own version. Instead we hesitate, question or mock. Such a gift must have strings attached. It’s too personal. Don’t we have to become special first?

Help me Lord to lower my false defenses and trust in Your love for each one of us individually and wholly. That we might abide in true relationships heart first. Trusting Your words completely.



Psalm of Worship: Psalm 119:160

“The sum of Thy word is truth,
And every one of Thy righteous ordinances is everlasting.”

Friday, November 9, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Scepter


Bits of power merge
together like scattered
metal magnetized into
a cohesive plan
building strength
attracting like interests
forms into shape; creates
illusion of control.

Buys more people,
rulers establish systems
grow prominence, believe
own scepter strength
forget veil source
of all existence who
silently watching
holds the throne.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions

1.     Have you ever had a position of authority that went to your head? What were the consequences to others? To yourself?

2.     How open are you to advice and accountability? Why? Or Why not?

3.     How can we learn to distinguish between an obstacle we need to overcome and a closed door we need to obey?

4.     Have you prayer support as you follow the dreams God has given you.  



Share: Has the Lord given you insight to recognize a false path? How?

 
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