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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?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Isaiah 14:5, “The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of rulers”

In our advertisement-laden world, it is often difficult to separate the truth from the rhetoric. And that’s from the outside in—not from our own self-centered illusions. How often do we find ourselves claiming control when really we have inhaled a false reality? Or someone else’s interpretation of how we should conduct ourselves.

History is replete with examples of both earned and designated power run amok.

New ideas—dreams—visions are wonderful gifts of creativity in so many areas of our lives. Unless they begin to become the authority by which we legislate our perceived power of time and talents and responsibilities.

We all like to think we’re in control, but the true reality is that the Lord alone is the source of all power and strength and only under His guidance can genuine direction and truth flourish with life-giving results.

Psalm 27 reminds us that, “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the guard keeps watch in vain.”

The gifts are given in trust. And sometimes when we protect and provide we are tempted to hoard and hide for our own personal status.

Lord, help me to be grateful that You are in control, for Your wisdom that guides and for Your sustaining grace that enables us to live freely with generosity.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 49:15

“But God will redeem my soul from the power of Sheol; for He will receive me.”

Friday, November 2, 2012

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Guidance


Following a new hiking

trail encourages adventure

the surprise of a curved

path opening to glorious

vista, or a concealed hideaway.


Our eyes eagerly seek

for signs whether overlarge

billboards, tiny arrows at

foot level, or worn beaten trails

of previous travelers.  Fresh steps

on proven ground.  Yet then I


hesitate when  guidance

is spoken behind  us,

words giving step by step

directions offering

a different scenic walk.


New fresh ground. Unmarked.

Keep seeing my safe route before me

wonder where the change will go.

Suddenly the path becomes a

challenge to walk holy ground.






 
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