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Friday, September 28, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Walked


Methuselah is known
worldwide—his longevity
the prize record held.

Not connected often
with famous grandson Noah
another universal story,

great feats—family
heritage. Does anyone
remember that his father
Enoch, “walked with God.”

Not much else said
besides genealogy and reputation
“and then he was no more
because God took him.”

A heritage not repeated
in biblical annals,
but to walk with God
how can we ignore.


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions

1.     Do you think of yourself as being able to walk with God as Enoch did? Why or why not?

2.     Whom do you trust humanly more than any other person? Why?

3.     Is there someone that you give those same gifts of relationship to when you walk with them?

4.     Are these gifts that can only be shared spontaneously or gifts that can be nurtured?



Share: What is most special to you when you can walk with a close friend or loved one?


Monday, September 24, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Hebrews 11:5, “By faith Enoch was taken so that he did not experience death; and ‘he was not found, because God had taken him.’”

Every time I come to this verse, and the one it refers to in Genesis 5:24: “Enoch walked with God; then he was no more, because God took him,” I find myself silent and a little stunned at the words.

What would it be like to walk with God? Did he get to walk in person like Adam and Eve in the garden? Did they walk in silence like long time friends often do? Or were they so excited to be able to share their day and feelings that the conversation skipped from subject to subject and time passed into a blur?

And this happened long before the law, long before Jesus’ sacrifice to remove the barrier of sin that keeps us from fellowship. Scripture says so little about Enoch, but we do know he was a man and therefore not perfect—not righteous—not holy. Only Jesus can make that claim. And still, Enoch walked with God.

Richard Foster reminds us that the gift of Simple prayer is the freedom to pour our heart out before Him. “We do not try to conceal our conflicting and contradictory motives from God—or from ourselves.” We are fortunate when we find trustworthy friends with whom we can share with complete honesty and know they will listen all the way to the bottom of our garbage and stay with us until we recognize it as well.

Yet this miracle of fellowship to walk with God is His gift to each of us. Enoch recognized it and accepted it. Lord, help us to receive this wondrous spiritual heritage. Deepen our faith so that we willingly remove any barriers that keep us from walking with you.



Psalm of Worship: Psalm 62:8

“Trust in Him at all times, O people;
Pour out your heart before Him;
God is a refuge for us.”



Friday, September 21, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Success


Our success is marked

by accomplishment it seems

whether by worldly standards

of wealth, health, longevity;

or within ourselves a step

taken, a goal met, known

perhaps only to ourselves, gives

sense of satisfaction and

life is good.


Then we read that a man

died, a faithful man in God’s

eyes—a righteous man who

lived faithfully.


Which measure truly succeeds?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     How can we determine if we are choosing to live by faith when all is going well?

2.     What practical steps can we take to turn towards faith when life becomes difficult or confusing?

3.     Do the faith words we speak to ourselves match the faith walk we take in public?



Share: What is your measure of a good day?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Hebrews 11:4, “; he died, but through his faith he still speaks.”


We are so easily influenced by our world’s views, often without recognizing it. Sometimes we see a successful life as meaning abundance. Even when we acknowledge that riches and power in the long run will not satisfy our inner search for truth, we seek an abundance of life. Overflowing life—alive in the Lord’s gifts. Grateful for our blessings. All is well with our soul.

Yet Abel died. Young. Jesus died. Young. Moses died without setting foot in the Promised Land. And so the disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he should be born blind.” We too wonder who is sinning when death and disease and disaster strike. We measure by the external.

Whereas God measures by the heart. A heart like Abel’s that took God’s word as truth. Faith lives. Faith is life. A life lived in faith is success. So different from the world around us. So easy to miss the ongoing steps. So easy to let hard heartedness and discouragement take over.

Yielded to God’s word, Abel lived in trust under all circumstances. Cain even told his brother of the conversation he had with the Lord, of the warning he had received. Still Abel continued to go into the field with Cain.  And his trust continues to speak through the ages as a witness to both the here and the hereafter.

Lord, please show us how to truly live a life in focus with Your heart—not apart—but faithful in all the moments.



Psalm of Worship: Psalm 33:20-21

“Our soul waits for the Lord; He is our help and our shield.
For our heart rejoices in Him, because we trust in His holy name.”

Friday, September 14, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



An Offering


Much conjecture debate
pontification and sermons
continue throughout
eras due to concrete
missing details.

Who, what, why journalism
sets scope on earth’s
first family. Fresh from
the garden, first generation
embroiled in fruit’s effect.

One righteous—accepted—died.
One gift received approved,
one faith endures as witness
his voice still speaks
through his actions of
one confirmed substantiated fact.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     During what seasons of our lives do we sometimes find it difficult to give without hesitation?

2.     When do we find giving something that pours out of us?

3.     How does this connect to our everyday work?


Share: Have you ever given a non-public gift? How free did you heart feel?


Monday, September 10, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Hebrews 11:4, “By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain’s. Through this he received approval as righteous, God himself giving approval to his gifts; he died, but through his faith he still speaks.”


Why do we tend to compare ourselves to others whether personally or professionally? We may manage to separate out some of our activities from ‘the world’ but still make judgments, either against ourselves if we feel we don’t measure up, or towards others for doing less than us.

Often it starts as an honest question: how do you manage your time, your talents, and your finances as a faithful steward of God’s gifts, we say.  We too want to give back with open hands and gratitude. But sometimes it can feel like a competition, especially when we see a life poured out in service and all we seem to manage is a smidgen.

Whether we admit it openly or not there’s a little sympathy for Cain, a little of ‘well my brother also was dad’s favorite’ sibling attitude, running through our thoughts. Or, what exactly did he do wrong so I don’t ever do that! We really just want approval. But from whom?

Offerings—given with a whole heart by Abel. Given in outward obedience by Cain. Not a side-by-side contest or test level evaluation. Instead a private one-to-one with the Lord. Jesus pronounced the widow’s mite as honorable and the rich man’s offering as insufficient because it came out of his plenty. It did not touch him personally. Both Abel and the widow acted in faith. Too often I act in surface obedience, like Cain.

“Please take from me my life when I don’t have the strength to give it away to You, Jesus,” is from a worship song by the group Third Day. Maybe Cain didn’t realize or trust that even when his soul was cold all he needed to do was ask God for help.

Lord, please keep me from a tightfisted heart that influences everything in my life—attitude—time—gifts—family—friends—strangers—work and worship. Please show me what faithfulness looks like in action for myself, for each of us, so that we can support and encourage one another to live out Your words in trust.



Psalm of Worship: Psalm 33:4

“For the word of the Lord is upright;
And all His work is done in faithfulness.”


Friday, September 7, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


     Darkness


     Dark so dense not

     a ripple of shadow

     moving registered

     motion.


     Dark so heavy not

     a wave of sound

     vibrations echoed

     through.


     Dark so full not

     a taste of hope

     yearning touched

     morning.


     Until word spoken

     with authority cut through

     marrow and bone forever

     creating a path,

     “Let there be light.”

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry




Reflection Questions


1.     How do we manage to confine ourselves by darkness, instead of letting God’s word speak?

2.     Why do we sometimes not recognize when darkness has crept into our souls?

3.     Do we really trust that when God speaks—light follows?

4.     What are some ways we can accept His light for ourselves or for others?


Share: How has God spoken light into your day, today?

Monday, September 3, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Genesis 1:3, “Then God said, ‘let there be light,’ and there was light.”


As I stood silent in the lava cave with my flashlight off I could hear a drip of water just overhead to my right, but I could not see it. I could smell the damp cold air, but I could not see the puffs of my breath. I felt a brief surge of air upon my legs sent by a sightless breeze. I put my hand directly in front of my eyes, and I could not see it.

Total, complete, darkness.

A few minutes later I heard voices coming down the tunnel ahead. As they approached a curve leading to the area where I stood a faint gray shadow edged into my vision. Although I could still see nothing at all the blackness had eased its degree. The closer the light came down the passage the more gray my sight recognized, however, I had no clarity until I turned my own flashlight back on.

Total, complete, light.

As I stood silent surrounded by its brightness the cave reflected back moving shadows. Eerie shapes and forms reverberated off the rock floor and walls and ceiling. But I stood in a pool of brightness and I could see everything around me clearly.

Total, complete, clarity.

A word spoken by scripture. A verse sung in a hymn. A prayer voiced in compassion. A long dormant idea illumined. A puzzling incident revealed. God’s light seeps in, gradually, just around the edges, or sometimes as a flash of inspiration. But when He speaks we receive when we watch.

Total, complete, insight.

Lord, please speak Your light into our hearts fresh each morning as a Son rise—You Lord in us each morning, just as You bring in the dawn.



Psalm of Worship: Psalm 27:1

“The Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the defense of my life; whom shall I dread?”

 
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