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Friday, January 31, 2014

Silent Broadcast: Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


Silent Broadcast


News of the prophet’s

flight sent the enraged

king in pursuit

goal—revenge.


Anger at authority challenged,

refused God’s spoken reprimand.


Uriah struck down by sword

buried in common ground

now a thundering witness as

poignant story spreads

throughout the land

crying out like Abel’s blood.


Stained stones condemn tyrants

in silent broadcast.


Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Reflection Revenge: Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Has revenge or ridicule forced you to leave a job or relationship?

2.     Did it leave a hold over you of failure or of faithfulness on your soul?

3.     How has the experience strengthened or weakened you to speak out as a witness to truth when words need to be made public?

Share: What is a soul blessing you have received for staying true to God’s words.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Uriah: Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


Hebrews 11:37, “….they were killed by the sword,….”

When the prophet Uriah prophesied against the city and against the land (similar words to the prophet Jeremiah) King Jehoiakim attempted to put him to death. So the prophet escaped to Egypt.

You would think that would satisfy the king. No. Instead he set men to capture and return Uriah before him and then the king himself slew him with a sword. And threw his body into common ground for burial. Jer 26:23

Perhaps his intent was to make an example out of the prophet for speaking against his reign. And give warning to other prophets. Instead he made an example out of the prophet for being a faithful witness to God’s word regardless of the consequences.

Rather than hiding his actions from the truth, the king highlighted his wickedness by his very response. And the people saw a prophet who cherished God’s glory above earthly power.

Eternal lasting power over temporary earth bound rewards.

Uriah knew his soul was safe in God’s hands.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 57:5-6

“Be exalted above the heavens, O God; Let Thy glory be above all the earth.
They have prepared a net for my steps; My soul is bowed down;
They dug a pit before me; They themselves have fallen into the midst of it.”




Friday, January 24, 2014

Stoned: Faith Seeds

   
             Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



      

                       Stoned



Shutting their ears

to truth not enough

to satisfy—needed

to stone speaker as well

to silence public witness

too late to realize words

seeped into their own hearts

to linger.



Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Stoned to Death: Reflection Questions


Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     How willing are you to hear truth spoken into your own life?

2.     What is your automatic reaction to accountability?

3.     Reverse—how willing are you to speak truth to a loved one?

4.     What do you do to prepare for the encounter?



Share: What reply do you give when ridiculed for Jesus?

Monday, January 20, 2014

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


Hebrews 11:37, “They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented.”

There is a story in 2 Chronicles 24 that tells how King Joash gave the command to stone Zechariah, the son of Jehoiada, a high priest from whom the king had received kindness. However after his death the king listened to other counsel and abandoned God to serve idols. When the Spirit of God came upon Zechariah and he proclaimed. “Because you have forsaken the Lord, He also has forsaken you,” they stoned him to death in the court of the house of the Lord. But his words remained behind as testimony.

In Acts 7 when Stephen, filled with the Holy Spirit, bore witness against his accusers unrepentant hearts, he too was stoned to death. Those who stoned him laid their robes at the feet of a young man named Saul, who agreed with the persecution of believers. And Stephen’s words remained behind as testimony to those present and to us today.

Most of us have experienced the reality of the schoolyard chant that “sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” And we know that in fact words can hurt deeper and longer. Words penetrate to our hearts. Too many times as wounds. Yet they can also bring truth into the open—into light—for redemption.

These two men witnessed unto death the Lord’s words. How reluctant I have been so many times to speak out because of the possibility of ridicule and sharp-edged words.

But God gave them the words to speak, and the Spirit gave them the strength to endure the consequences, and their witness brought about new faith as the words took root.

Lord, please give us courage to speak Your truth in our lives, through our actions, and with our speech.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 118:22-23

“The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone.
This is the Lord’s doing; It is marvelous in our eyes.”

Friday, January 17, 2014

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Integrity


To honor his master

keep safe

entrusted household

he held to honesty

did not join common trend

of self-indulgence.

Single act revealed

duplicity of others

his reward a prison

body bound by lies

heart still clean by truth.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Have you ever been tempted to give up trying to walk with integrity when no one around you cares? What word from the Lord gives you strength to hold on?

2.     Do you think there is a time or place when a person must retaliate when personally betrayed? Why and How?

3.     If you are imprisoned by false words right now, ask for trusted friends to become your prayer support as you wait for God’s direction.

Share: What ‘chains’ has God placed you in that resulted in good for others?


Monday, January 13, 2014

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


Hebrews 11: 36, “,… and even chains and imprisonment.”

Sometimes when accusations are displayed in public, onlookers cannot easily determine who may be telling the truth. A shadow of doubt may linger. But what about when a person has kept the faith and held to moral values, and spoken only truth, but is still condemned.

“And Joseph’s master took him and put him into the prison, the place where the king’s prisoners were confined; he remained in prison.” Genesis 39: 20.

Some commentators have thought it likely that Joseph’s master knew he was indeed innocent and that is why he was imprisoned rather than immediately killed, which was the normal penalty for the accusations against him. He had overcome the betrayal of his own brothers and now once again received an unjust punishment.

Again and again, Joseph experienced personal betrayal, but he did not resort to self-preservations tactics or stop being faithful to God. Instead he trusted God in each circumstance. To his brothers he said, “Do not be afraid, for am I in God’s place? And as for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good in order to bring about this present result, to preserve many people alive.” Genesis 50: 19-20

Lord, please give us courage and integrity to walk in truth even if no one listens.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 15:1-2

“O Lord, who may abide in Thy tent?
Who may dwell on Thy holy hill?
He who walks with integrity, and works righteousness,
And speaks truth in his heart.”

Friday, January 10, 2014

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Guilt


Failure to rely on God

burrows into soul

regrets fester,

rise to volcanic surge

with public knowledge.


Unleash blame outward

angry whippings

innocent suffer

their visible scars a

continued witness to guilt,

shame-dug grooves.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     What is your immediate reaction to accusation?

2.     If there is truth to it do you immediately go to God in prayer, or try to explain it away to yourself?

3.     How do you speak truth in love within your family or workplace to keep relationships open and honest?

Share: Have you had to take a public stand to expose a lie? What was the result?


Monday, January 6, 2014

Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


Hebrews 11: 36, “Others suffered mocking and flogging and even chains and imprisonment.”

Often in the Old Testament when prophets and seers spoke God’s truth, they received anger, retaliation, and punishment as a response. Ahab threw Micaiah into prison because of his prophecy. King Asa threw Hanani into prison “for delivering an unfavorable word from the Lord.” Jeremiah was placed in prison and into a miry pit for speaking God’s truth. King Herod into the New Testament had John beheaded and Peter arrested with the intent of a death sentence.

Even today when truth is spoken in public in opposition to leaders in any forum, the retaliation often comes as legal defamation of character or accusations of slander. Real facts get buried under mud-slinging and false witness.

And personally when a truth is spoken personally that we don’t want to hear we almost immediately come up with excuses, blame others, blame circumstances—anything so as not to take responsibility.

Yet God continues to speak truth into our world and into our lives to bring us light and hope and restoration. His love confronts the lies we sometimes don’t even recognize we have absorbed, and removes the poison before it takes hold—if we are willing to listen.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 23:3

“He restores my soul;
He guides me in the path of righteousness
For His name’s sake.

 
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