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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry




Reflection Questions



1.     Have you ever followed a path you thought the Lord directed toward and had it turn out badly? Did you begin to doubt you really had heard His voice?

2.     Does scripture promise that every time we walk a path we will succeed?

3.     What is the difference between obedience and success in Jesus’ walk?

4.     How difficult is it for you to walk only a few steps at a time?




   Share: What gives you the confidence to discern the Lord’s voice from your own?

Monday, October 29, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Isaiah 30:21, “And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, ‘This is the way; walk in it.’”


I think I had become so used to scripture that encourages believers to follow that it took me along time to realize—internalize that this verse says “behind”.

Sight unseen.

Or at least, not a clear view up ahead. Or even a glimpse out of the corner of my eye.

Behind—to hear, to act upon tasks given, to obey in faith.

Where the questions begin, “Is this really You, Lord?” “How can I be sure.” “Could I have some assurance?”  “Why?” “Please, may I turn around and look and see and touch and taste?”

Creation obeys.

Instinctively—instantly—intently.

Because all know your voice clearly. Because Your word is imbedded into the fabric of all. Like a heartbeat flowing steadily.


Lord, please so saturate me/us in Your words and Your voice that I/we will resist You from fear or confusion, but instead embrace the gift of hearing Your guidance.



Psalm of Worship: Psalm 25:9-10

“He leads the humble to justice, and He teaches the humble His way.
All the paths of the Lord are lovingkindness and truth
To those who keep His covenant and His testimonies.”



Friday, October 26, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Comfort


Engulfed in darkness

no glimmer of promise

instincts assert command

body, mind, stilled

into submission.


Enveloped by circumstances

heartbeat races, grasps connect to

insight radar, whether by

courage or fear reaches

internal light that

holds foundation firm

comfort His surety.




Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry




Reflection Questions

1.     The medical professions has sometimes referred to the fight or flee reaction many people have to danger—at least a physical threat. Which is yours?

2.     How can fight or flee help us in emotional attacks? Or hinder us?

3.     Is it possible to fight or flee without physical reaction? How can we help ourselves or others through that internal fear?

4.     Do you think the psalmist is only addressing physical danger? Why or why not?


Share: What is your immediate action when you sense darkness approaching your heart?

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry




Psalm 23:4, “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I fear no evil; for you are with me; your rod and your staff—they comfort me.”

Have you ever noticed how often in movies or novels that characters (and especially children) instinctively begin to hum or chatter when they find themselves in a dark place? We don’t often go into the dark unarmed. Even when we appreciate the beauty found in a dark night, listening for nocturnal nature, admiring the stars or soaking in the quiet.

Yet behind the scenes a touch of fear stays at that which we cannot see, that which we cannot identify or see coming. Like the darkness of soul or mind or body that suddenly engulfs us changing our present into a closure, our future into chaos.

The prophets remind us that in God there is no darkness at all—neither physically, emotionally, spiritually, mentally, or any other form we find ourselves walking through. He readily gives us His strength to make choices, decisions and reactions when we falter. And gives us hope to not be crushed by the darkness that lurks around us.

Lord, prepare our hearts to turn instinctively to You when the shadows form. Help us to walk in praise and thanksgiving knowing You are present and walking alongside.

“Prayer was not separate from poetry and song.” Esther de Waal


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 107:14-15

“He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death,
And broke their bands apart.
Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness,
And for His wonders to the sons of men!”

Friday, October 12, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Warnings


Warnings rumbled

through words spoken

in language inaccessible.


Illustrations not bound

to known reality. In a

world devoid of rain

a flood would come.


Build an ark. One man

listened. Obeyed. Followed an

imaginative process through

new images. Ancient crackpot

castigated and scorned for

fancy visions. Received inheritance

as a man of righteousness.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry





Reflection Questions


1.     Do you trust God to carry you through any crisis that comes?

2.     Under what situations do you find fear taking hold in your life?

3.     How do you respond to nudges or impressions of change coming—with anticipation or anxiety? What makes the difference?



Share: What scripture ‘ark’ has God given you when you need to ride out personal storms?

Monday, October 8, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Hebrews 11:7, “By faith, Noah, warned by God about events as yet unseen, respected the warning and built an ark to save his household; by this he condemned the world and became an heir to the righteousness that is in accordance with faith.”


Often we have a tendency not to put imagination and faith in the same context. Yet Noah’s story has the makings of an epic fantasy or science fiction journey. In a time when rain was not a reality, a flood an unknown concept and perhaps even a boat unheard of, Noah was asked to stake everything on God’s request to build an ark. Did he struggle to find a way to ask God for a translation?  A reality check?

With our technology on super speed this era, it has not been considered odd to ask what is an ipad or an SEO or a webinar. Yet all these new means of communication have been built from previous science now constantly evolving and refining. Not only did Noah have no concepts to draw from, he also had the additional tension of worldwide catastrophe. Perhaps another indefinable concept.

Yet he trusted God’s word without question and set to follow His pattern in trust.

Too often I have pushed aside warnings or opportunities as impossible or too unlikely to be taken seriously. Either I outright ignore or water down the implications, instead of asking God for confirmation—first, and then wisdom next. And wonder why my day, my life, dissolves into chaos.

And we have centuries of scripture evidence to stand on—thousands of faith stories as reminders of God’s saving refuge in times of struggle and in times of new beginnings.

Lord, help us to distinguish Your voice above the jeers and naysayers. Give us courage to follow all Your directions and Your truth that we stay connected to You. That we may walk in obedience, safe in Your will. Help us to remember that nothing is impossible with You.




Psalm of Worship: Psalm 46:1-3

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change, and
though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its water roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.”


Friday, October 5, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Believe


Even in belief

I disbelieve and

exile myself from

Your love

expecting nothing.

Knowing my heart I

exempt myself  from

Your forgiveness,

exist in a coldness

I alone shape with

emptiness.

Yet You stay closer still.


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     In the darkness moment you’ve experienced did you turn away from God or turn to Him?

2.     How did that affect your healing?

3.     How did it affect your next hurdle?

4.     Why do you think we doubt the Lord so much in the face of His faithfulness?




Share: When another dark moment comes into your life, how will you hold onto God?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


Hebrews 11:6, “….without faith, it is impossible to please God, for whoever would approach him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”


For those who have met You Lord, or even had a glimpse of You, I doubt one would ever really deny Your existence. In my darkest moments that idea has never once taken root in me and yet there are questions that bring so many doubts, so many ‘but what if’ possibilities to block me from truly recognizing Your ability or Your willingness to act.

What if I am not welcome or not worthy? What if You exclude me because of my sin, or my selfishness? What if You see through my shields of hypocrisy? What if You can’t really help?

A desperate father brought to Jesus the plight of his son, his history since early childhood, the inability of healers to help him, the inability of the disciples to cure him and begged Jesus as his last hope, if you can—please help. And then his heart wrenching honest cry—“I do believe, help my unbelief.”

Often our faith staggers. We desire to walk in confidence and boldness. To bless and to be blessed according to God’s plans. But we focus on our own inadequacies instead of His power and grace. And create impossibilities before we even hear God’s reply.

Help me, Lord, help us, to come seeking Your will in faith, acknowledging the excuses we try to hide behind. Because You answer in spite of our feeble hope and in the presence of our failures that mock us. Please strengthen our faith into trust that really changes our lives as we daily walk in expectation.   



Psalm of Worship: Psalm 78:22-24

“Because they did not believe in God, and did not trust in His salvation
Yet he commanded the clouds above, and opened the doors of heaven;
And He rained down manna upon them to eat, and gave them food from heaven.”


 
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