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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Kingdom Manna

Crisis

Luke 13:29, “Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God.”


Jesus clearly stated that His kingdom was not of this world but the political leaders still felt threatened. They recognized a power beyond their control. A power they saw as dangerous.

Power and glory and majesty. Overarching all creation. Overseeing all of history. Overcoming all enemies.

Jesus’ victory far exceeds our limited experience. Reaches beyond our expectations. He invites us to His feast. His table. East and west, so far has He flung our transgressions from us. From north and south and east and west He gathers His children home.

Places prepared for each. A seat at the table. A dwelling in God’s kingdom. An inheritance sealed.

Jesus simply stated that this congregation would eat together. His promise given. His welcome to all nations. His word stands.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 111:6

He has shown his people the

power of his works,

in giving them the heritage of the

nations.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Kingdom Manna

Crisis

Mark 14:25, “Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the kingdom of God.”


“A new covenant”, Jesus said, “I give to you.” A new beginning with an end that only God will determine. An end for which Jesus waits in anticipation to celebrate with His disciples; all His disciples joined together in God’s kingdom.

A meal over which His church has cherished, worshipped, abused and argued. Sometimes taken by rote, sometimes in awe, sometimes in confusion. But faithfully adhered to ‘until He comes’.

A proclamation of faith, a light for each succeeding generation. Given with simplicity as unto a child, with mystery beyond our solutions. A candle that cannot be extinguished.

A witness of grace. Offered repeatedly. As the years pass Lord, I realize how gracious a gift. Your visible reminder to come. To be healed, restored, forgiven as often as is necessary. You repair and restore us through Your covenant. Your deliverance displayed.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 71:18

So even to old age and gray hairs,

O God do not forsake me,

until I proclaim your might

to all the generations to come.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Kingdom Manna

Crisis

2 Thessalonians 1:5, “This is evidence of the righteous judgment of God, and is intended to make you worthy of the kingdom of God, for which you are also suffering.”


With hearts grounded in His love and wills leaning on His power, the disciples were now warned of persecution ahead. Not to frighten them or send them into a panic but to prepare them for the battle.

From generation to generation God battled Amalek who attacked the weak, the stragglers, the weary. Joshua fought with the sword: Moses, Aaron and Hur with prayer. Again and again the Amaleks sneak up to attack God’s people.

We need to be ready. Not caught by surprise or overwhelmed by suddenness. Prepared to set suffering in the right perspective. And trust God to take us through. To uphold each other when tired and sick and distraught. To surround with prayer.

Fury fuels my motions Lord and I strike back. My mind fill with outrage and I am blind to Your power waiting to sustain me. When I act only in retaliation I return evil for evil and lose no matter the outcome. Instead help me to endure as You did—through the suffering to Your victory.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 62:11-12

Once God has spoken; twice have I heard this: that power belongs to God,

and steadfast love belongs to you, O Lord.

For you repay to all according to their work.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kingdom Manna

Crisis

Acts 1:3, “After his suffering he presented himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God.”


After Jesus received His baptism by John He went into the desert for a period of forty days. A time of preparation for His public ministry, a dramatic departure from small town carpentry. To focus on priorities, learn to withstand temptation, depend on God in different ways than ever before. To see and experience another facet of God’s presence in His life.

And after His resurrection Jesus again experienced a forty-day transition. For His disciples. A time of preparation for His glorious return to His Father. A time of preparation for His followers to acknowledge Him in the flesh and in the Spirit. To gain an unshakable confidence in His new status, a dramatic departure from earth to heaven.

At His Father’s right hand interceding for His disciples, for us. To prepare us to withstand temptation, to focus our priorities, to prepare for ministry. Depending on Jesus in ways we never anticipated. Yet grounded in His upholding power. Firmly planted in the knowledge of His love. Lord, help me to ‘see’ You everyday.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 63:2

So I have looked upon you in the sanctuary,

beholding your power and glory.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Kingdom Manna

Crisis

Acts 14:22, “There they strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, ‘It is through many persecutions that we must enter the kingdom of God.’”


Sanctuary door stands open

ready to receive

hurting souls lost,

bewildered

needing peace.


Deep at the center,

place of glass

as when a pebble

dropped within

a pool stays still.


Surrounded by ripples

moving outward

smearing the image

clouding

His reflection.


Dimly seen. Together in the

quiet restoration

of calm the mirror is

restored.

Pure.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 68:35

Awesome is God in his sanctuary,

the God of Israel;

he gives power and strength to his people.

Blessed be God!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Kingdom Manna

Crisis

Luke 10:11, "Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet, we wipe off in protest against you. Yet know this: the kingdom of God has come near."


Evidence is established. A man blind from birth can now see. There are witnesses to the before and after: family, neighbors, and personal testimony. The Pharisees press on for details that detract or show fraud, in an attempt to verify truth, to assure the miracle is from God. So they say.

Yet their minds are already made up. The deeper the confirmation of Jesus’ healing, the angrier they become. Bellow accusations, bully those who testify, blast their integrity. And finally drive the man out under a torrent of disbelief.

Eradicating any possible threat that could undermine their authority or their position becomes their purpose. Regardless of the truth they are commissioned to uphold. Ordained to teach, obligated to pass on.

Yet God’s kingdom has come near. Ignoring it, obliterating it or haranguing it won’t dismiss it. Instead we risk finding ourselves shut out of it because of our hard-hearted hearts ands closed minds.

Enlarge my thoughts Lord to see beyond tradition only. Increase my ability to see you in new ways—unexpected miracles, fresh perspectives. Enlarge my capacity to trust You and walk in faith.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 78:22

“Because they had no faith in God, and did not trust his saving power.”

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Kingdom Manna

Crisis

Matthew 5:19, “Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, will be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven.”


There are consequences to our choices. We know this. We live with the results daily, especially the painful ones. Even when the actual effects of our poor choices are finished; our memories serve as a continual reminder. But we also know our Lord is waiting to ease and strengthen and encourage our healing processes. That He stands by us with His love and mercy.

So much so that sometimes we forget we have accountability too. Christ carries us through our trials and mistakes and sins with His comfort “so that we may be able to console those who are in any affliction with the consolation with which we ourselves are consoled by God.”

Too often I am blind to the pain of others. I am so relieved to be rid of my burden, anxious to move forward, that I resist any pull on my emotions, anything that could open aching doorways. But God’s commandment stands, “love one another, just as I have loved you.”

Spreading Your love undergirds Your kingdom. Sharing Your mercy strengthens Your hope. Speaking Your words invites Your salvation. Everytime.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 67:2

“That your way may be known upon earth, your saving power among all nations.”

Monday, March 5, 2012

KIngdom Manna

Crisis

1 Corinthians 4:20, “For the kingdom of God depends not on talk but on power.”


Meetings assist us to gather information, focus energy, delegate responsibilities, gain momentum and set goals.

Constructive, necessary, valuable tools.

If we don’t get side-tracked. If we don’t belabor our material. If we don’t neglect our schedules.

Clear, negotiated, valid discussion.

Market place discernment leads to better business. A profitable dividend. Healthy growth. Extended bonuses.

Job security and community relations.

If the aim is honest, respectable, long-term. If relationships are considered important.

Committed, nourishing, verifiable aims.

Merchandise offers substance. A usable product. A need filled. Messages advertise and publicize creating a hunger.

If the want is real. If the answer fulfills. If life is enhanced.

Christ, new, victorious life.

Matchless majesty. Measureless manna. Anything apart from Your truth is cheap talk.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 130:7

O Israel, hope in the Lord! For with the LORD there is steadfast love, and with him is great power to redeem.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Kingdom Manna

Tasks

Colossians 3:12, “As God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience.”

“Dress for the job” is an unwritten motto in many businesses. Client relationships depend on good impressions and the apparel often sets the tone. A job applicant is wise who arrives for the interview clean, neat, and groomed.

Clothes mark us. Our choices reflect our color preferences, our style, our comfort. Certain jobs are designated by their uniform, badge or insignia. We are committed to respond in accordance with the position.

Definite garments were designed and made for the priests. Only those upon whose shoulders the duties lay could wear the special robes. Set apart for service. God requested His people be distinct. Easily identified.

Chosen by God to be clothed in His raiment. Robes of salvation. Robes of redemption. Robes of royalty. We are also asked to wear His mark. Spiritual imprints from the inside-out. Habits that see through our outer garments. We are commissioned to respond in accordance with the position.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 132:16

Its priests I will clothe with salvation, and its faithful will shout for joy.

 
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