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Friday, August 30, 2013

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


Confrontation  


Bombarded with complaints,

demands, Samuel stood

firm. Spoke truth

described consequences.


Voice drowned by 

desire of assimilation;

their surety that commonality

higher than a unique calling.


He did not agree, sought

instead God’s counsel

acquiesced to His command only.


Crowd now satisfied—ignorant

of their loss.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     What are some social “expectations” that can influence us from hearing truth?

2.     When have you struggled to share a truth with someone and been rejected? How painful were the results for each of you?

3.     Have you identified areas in your life where you can be persuaded too easily or alternately distrust intently?

4.     How many of those situations have resulted from pride?
  

Share: How have you exchanged a false belief for truth? What helped you break down your barriers?


Monday, August 26, 2013

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


Hebrews 11: 32, “And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jepthah of David and Samuel and the prophets—.”

All of these men acted on faith without having any knowledge of the outcome. They trusted in God’s word alone regardless of the immediate circumstances. Hearing God’s voice was sufficient.

One of Samuel’s most difficult experiences is related in the story of Israel’s demands as told in 1 Samuel 8:18-22. The people insisted that Samuel appoint a king to rule over them. Samuel recognized the error of their request and refused to cooperate. He did not bow to their demands.

However he did take all their words he had heard and “he repeated them in the ears of the Lord.” Then when the Lord said to go ahead and fulfill their request Samuel obeyed God. He was wholly committed to serve God’s word with heart and mind and soul.

Sometimes I wonder if the people thought they had forced Samuel’s hand and influenced his decision. Which would then increase the falsehood that they were right to demand control. As their priest, Samuel’s obedience humanly cost him politically, socially and spiritually. Yet he did not question God’s word or authority. And his obedience carried into eternity.

How often do we also buy into false choices and decisions because we forget to bring the words we hear into the Lord’s presence for affirmation? Or bow to the majority because it is easier?  Or cannot hear the Lord’s voice because we are so full of our own agenda?

Lord, please enable a faith in us to keep us listening to Your words, Your voice and Your path.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 40:2

“How blessed is the man who has made the Lord his trust,
And has not turned to the proud, nor to those who lapse into falsehood.” 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



 Pardon



She heard the truth

heart melted

knew no other course

no guarantee of pardon

onslaught due. Or

risk death as traitor

heart cried

He alone is God.

Stepped out in faith

entered priestly line.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     We may not be in a position of literal death as Rahab was but what are some ‘deaths’ we might face today standing for God’s truth?

2.     Does the responsibility of a family, or employees, or co-workers add more pressure to the choice, or more responsibility to choose the more difficult way?

3.     What about the seemingly small choices. How painful can they become when repeated over and over?

4.     Jesus also advised His followers not to throw pearls before swine. How can we tell when being silent is the better decision?


Share: Have you been in a position where standing by God’s truth put you in a precarious situation?


Monday, August 19, 2013

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


Hebrews 11:31, “By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace.”

“We have heard how the Lord…” she told the spies that hid in her home.  And she was not the only one who believed. “Our hearts melted,” she continued, and “our courage fled,” because they all recognized God’s sovereign power.

Yet she alone is named as choosing to act on her belief and saved her entire family.

Not knowing if she would be killed as a traitor first. Not knowing if the spies would pass on her message. Not knowing if their leaders would honor their promise. Or if her own family would despise her choice for them.

Yet her heart yearned to obey God’s truth.

His words called to a deep hunger in her heart. She wanted to live by soul truth regardless of the consequences. She knew she would be considered exempt from Israel’s promises.

Yet she stepped out of prescribed boundaries to try.

With fear shaking her nation she made a commitment to honor “the Lord your God” and her own family by doing everything possible to save them too. “However, Rahab the harlot and her father’s household and all she had, Joshua spared; and she has lived in the midst of Israel to this day, for she hid the messengers..  .”

Yet even later her name stands in Jesus’ genealogy as the mother of Boaz.

Lord, please give us the courage to act on Your truth when we recognize it and not let fear keep us from being in Your kingdom family. Help us to trust beyond immediate risk and yearn for Your truth with our actions.



Psalm of Worship: Psalm 51:17

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.”



Friday, August 16, 2013

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Shout


Armed warriors

clutching courage

real or imagined

prepared to die

in battle

storming Jericho’s walls.


Commanded instead to

walk seven days

then SHOUT.


When did words alone

bring victory? Hearts

murmured—yet to

Yahweh stayed obedient,

confusion turned to awe.



Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     What is your approach to insurmountable odds? Give up? Push harder? Come at it sideways?

2.     How often do you attack a problem your way first and then ask for God’s help or do you go to Him first?

3.     How difficult or easy is it for you to cease striving when the cost is high?



Share: Has the Lord ever asked you to do something inexplicable? How did respond?

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


Hebrews 11:30, “By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days.”

Have you ever wondered what kind of conversations went on in the ranks over those seven days? Did hope or doubt or confusion grow with each passing night?
Confidence or cowardice. Ribald jokes or nervous twitters.

Did the warriors groan as their adrenaline rush decreased with inactivity while the families eased a sigh of relief at another day of no blood shed—yet.

Yet whatever the individual or group concerns over lack of seeming practical campaign strategy, they did not whine or moan as their ancestor had at the Red Sea. In spite of confusion at these new tactical orders, they obeyed. And walked daily in faith—not seeing—not even being able to imagine what exactly it was they were doing.

We expect instant answers to immediate problems today. With all the information available at our fingertips we assume quick replies. And if they don’t come we then assume we are in control, or it’s up to us to find a solution. Or chafe at the thought of waiting—with no concrete or definable plan of attack. And miss out on astonishment.

Lord, please help us not to resist Your ways when they seem inconceivable. Instead enable us to see through Your perspective and Your possibilities. Help us be willing to relinquish our solutions towards conflict with solutions beyond our ability to achieve. And trust Your word alone.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 46:9-10

“He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; He breaks the bow
and cuts the spear in two; He burn the chariots with fire.
Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the
nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”


Friday, August 9, 2013

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


Drowned


Did they even hesitate a

moment to wonder at the

miracle before them—a dry

path dividing a sea.


Or simply take for granted

that if such as Israel

could cross, then so should they.


Arrogance of strength,

history, power, their

compass.


Astonished instead when

sea wall collapsed

denying success of

formula certainty.



Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions

1.     What ‘Red Sea’ experience have you been astonished by in your life—either positively or negatively?

2.     Were you confidant going into the situation by God’s word or based on your own competence?

3.     How did that experience change your life choices or how did it not?


Share: How did your faith deepen as a result?



Monday, August 5, 2013

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


Hebrews 11:29, “By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned.”

Did either the Israelites or the Egyptians pause to consider the miracle before them?

The story in Exodus 14 notes that just before the sea walls opened Israel stood on the riverbanks in complaint and rebellion. Then only after they safely crossed and saw the soldiers drown “the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses.” They stepped into the path unbelieving but hopeful? And when the Egyptians saw them, “they took up the pursuit, and …. went in after them into the midst of the sea.” No hesitation?

From a distance we read as if watching an onscreen version of special effects and can imagine the mountainous walls of water, the sound, the fear and we are riveted without being present. How then could the actual participants not be staggered by the gift of God’s power before them? And yet, they had all just experienced plagues beyond imagination. Did miracles now seem ordinary?

I wonder how our fear of the unknown, or the hubris of entitlement, can rob us of astonishment and wonder when the unexpected appears right in front of us.

When we see answers to our prayers and then try to explain them away. Or minimize the Lord’s influence or later actually contradict it. Faith requires belief in the unseen and yet too often we also wait for the final proof or good solution before we will believe. Or perhaps just assume we have the right to something when the answer is no. Maybe we are too busy leaning on our own understanding instead of a willingness to listen and follow Spirit nudges to trust.

Nevertheless Jesus continues to make intercession for us. He continues to save—even when we can’t see straight—for the sake of His name—love—God with us.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 106: 8-11

“Nevertheless He saved them for the sake of His name,
That He might make His power known.
Thus He rebuked the Red Sea and it dried up;
And He led them through the deeps as through the wilderness.
So He saved them from the hand of the one who hated them,
And redeemed them from the hand of the enemy.
And the waters covered their adversaries; Not one of them was left.”


 
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