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Monday, June 30, 2014

Storm:Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.”

As a city child I had not fully experienced the power of a northern storm until one summer visiting with my aunt on a secluded lake in Ontario. We had watched the sun set when dark clouds rolled across the sky and blackened out any view. It was as if someone had thrown black paint across the window. My aunt hurriedly ran to turn off any lights that were on and darkness immersed the room where I stood. Hesitantly I leaned towards the window wondering why I couldn’t see.

Suddenly lighting split the sky in a giant flash briefly capturing the outline of trees, like a photograph, then the darkness swallowed up everything again. I stood frozen with fear. It had seemed to strike the lake right in front of the window and as I heard the rumble of thunder I didn’t know where to run and hide before it flashed again.

My aunt quietly put her arms around me and together we watched. My shaking gradually subsided into wonder and astonishment. Although too young to have the words then to capture that first storm the ‘photo’ shot become a permanent memory complete with sound effects.

We spent all the next week cleaning up far-flung debris. The storm had shut down electricity. Fallen trees blocked the narrow dirt road leading to the cottage and my uncle couldn’t get through for a few days. I had no real concept then of its wide devastation. My aunt had turned a terrifying storm into a respect for its beauty and power.

We may have to face many storms alone without physical arms to hold us, but we will always have the Lord’s love to protect and sustain us. His invisible arms around us cannot be removed when we trust in Him and allow faith and hope to remind us of His comforting power.

Lord, please give us hearts to cling to you with trust, and do not let our fears bring confusion.



Psalm of Worship: Psalm 91:1-3

“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High
Will abide in the shadow of the Almighty.
I will say to the Lord, ‘My refuge and my fortress,
My God in whom I trust!’
For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper,
And from the deadly pestilence.”




Friday, June 27, 2014

Dimly: Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Dimly


A reflection in the mirror

peers back

seemingly a clear image

on which to build

make up for the day

yet it is only a surface

appearance not

necessarily awake,

attuned to motives

still dimly aims forward.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Reflection Mirror: Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions:


     1.  List some decisions you have made when fully confidant of your mirror image based on your own sense of knowing. How accurate were you? 

     2.  Now list some decisions or choices you felt the Lord leading you towards, but had no sense of understanding. What were the results? 

     3. In both cases how much did you lean or not lean on the Lord in prayer? What difference did it make for your faith? 

     4. Does the recognition that God knows us so thoroughly bring a sense of comfort or discomfort to you? Why? 



Share: What has helped you to have a clearer perspective from the Lord’s perspective when you have needed guidance?


Monday, June 23, 2014

Mirror: Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


1 Corinthians 13:12, “For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known.”

A mirror reflects images.

We depend on at least one each day to help make us physically presentable: teeth brushed, hair combed, collars even. However, no matter how pristine our environment, we are still dimmed by leftover steam from a shower, or clarity of eyesight, or the quality of lighting in the room, whether natural or fluorescent. We do the best we can based on a lifetime of experience and assume we are ready when our daily regimen is complete.

How accurately then can we make assumptions for our spiritual mirrors each day? Are we on guard, listening, praying with confidence, or stumbling? Do we have clear knowledge or a best guess?

Just like the curves or concaves in glass can give a distorted experience in a house of mirrors, so can our personal mirrors can give us a false perception if we trust in them alone. We don’t really know or understand all the pieces floating around in our thoughts, our schedules, or our actions.

We think we know, but it’s not a full picture. Sometimes our reflections are humorous and sometimes queasy. Sometimes we are looking through a lens that is not our own but has been dictated to us.

But the Lord knows us fully. Inside and out. He sees our completed heart, soul, and body, all together. Not splintered like ragged puzzle pieces, but a finished design. And He walks with us through His spirit to guide us step by step.

When we realize how foggy our vision is—how limited we are in our knowledge.  How easily we can miss the stain on the back of our clothing or the hardness of our heart, which we interpret as conviction.

Then we remember the hope He gives us—the hope of His light and guidance. The hope that He knows us completely and still does not reject us. Because He sees us as whole. Because He gives Himself  to be our mirror.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 51:10

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”




Friday, June 13, 2014

Alive: Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


Alive


Living hope

exclaimed

continuously

as each new birth

unfolds the magnificence

of frailty surviving

dark passage into

Light

eyes blinking

at brilliance

startled sensory

overload calms

with trusted

touch.

Love’s caress

embraces.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Reflection Living Hope: Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Is your understanding of living by faith all knowledge or experience or both?

2.     How does experience affect your faith decisions every day?

3.     Do you find acting in faith to be a choice or an instinctive response?

4.     In what kind of circumstances do you find one or the other to be more prevalent? Why?


Share: How has the Lord given you a new hope through deliverance recently?


Monday, June 9, 2014

Living Hope: Faith Seeds: Prayers and Poetry


1 Peter 1:3, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! By his great mercy he has given us a new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”

We know we are grateful for the gift of forgiveness and grace that Jesus gave. And our minds understand the hope for eternity when the time comes. But how often do we recognize Christ’s living hope during days that are filled with stress or perhaps with a lassitude that numbs our senses.

In his devotional book, Faith’s Check Book, C.H Spurgeon continually challenges himself and his readers to take God’s words of promise to heart literally each day. To actually experience faith through relationship and not only knowledge.

“See! The Lord promises a present deliverance: ‘Now will I break his yoke from off Thee.’ Believe for immediate freedom and according to thy faith so shall it be unto thee at this very hour. When God saith ‘now,’ let no man say ‘tomorrow.’ C.H. Spurgeon

A living hope—in the present—hope now—new life—new beginnings—the awe of new birth—deliverance.

Lord, please keep our eyes and hearts open to Your life in us. Help us to spend our present days in the atmosphere of Your breath.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 32:7

“Thou art my hiding place; Thou dost preserve me from trouble;
Thou dost surround me with songs of deliverance.”


 
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