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Friday, October 31, 2014

Step: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Step


Barefooted priests

stepped into swirling

water carrying holy trust

stood long hours

waiting for their people

bustling across miracle path

seeing only water walls

wavering love like trees

steadfast to call.


Will of God sustained

beating hearts,

still asks others to

wait upon travelers

struggling across rivers

worn with life’s journey

speak truth

stand firm as 

barefoot servants.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Reflection: Dry Ground: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Have you had to stand still and wait until others reach safety? What sustained you?

2.     How do you determine what combination of action and stillness enables a call to be completed?

3.     In what ways could we compare the faithful priests standing until all who crossed to a call to prayer today?


Share: When have you been able to cross an impassible situation because of prayer?

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Dry Ground: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Reading: Joshua 3

“Sanctify yourselves; for tomorrow the Lord will do wonders among you.”     
Joshua 3:5

When Israel fled Egypt God told Moses to hold his staff out and God parted the sea. Now the time has come to enter the Promised Land and God’s directions include choices for each person and a particular call to the priests who carried the ark.

Sanctify yourselves—prepare to see the wonder—follow the ark—cross over on dry ground.

But the flowing waters would not be cut off until the soles of the feet of the priests who carried the ark of the Lord literally stepped into the waters. And then they “stood firm on dry ground until all the nation had finished crossing the Jordan.”

To Israel the ark represented God’s testimony to remain with the people—within their camp. His testimony—His word—His Direction—His Presence. And the priests faithfully stood under that authority and under that promise until all were safe.

Many times Jesus gave His disciples similar directions. Follow Me—I am the light—Abide in My word—I am the way, the truth and the light—keep My word.

Each had a choice, a decision to believe—to trust—to follow—in all circumstances. Eleven did and one did not.

Sometimes we too are faced with overwhelming rivers keeping us separated from the new land God intends for us and we let the impossibilities freeze us on the edge. Fear chokes our trust in His words. Sometimes for ourselves and often for others. Faith dissolves under the tide of rushing waters. There is no way through. Unless we take His words as seriously as did Israel and the disciples.

Lord, give us courage to remember that when we step forward first sanctified in Your word and in prayer You will direct our path onto dry ground. And you will give us strength to stand there for others when You call us to wait.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 123:2

"As the eyes of servants look to the lord of the their master, as the eyes of a maid to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the Lord our God, until he has mercy upon us.”


Friday, October 24, 2014

Oath: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Oath



She hid the spies

and gave them counsel

these men whom she knew

came to take her land.


Some would say a traitor.


She knew the truth

they carried

mattered more

than land and city.


Instead she hungered for life.

Saved her family and their kin.


She counted on words

words of oath, of covenant

words bound by promises

given by messengers.


Sent to bring light.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Reflection Territory: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     What boundary are you hesitating to cross literally or metaphorically? Or do you know that someone is preparing to come into your territory?

2.     Is there a conversation that needs to be brought into the open but you are afraid of the confrontation?

3.     How has the Lord prepared you already?

4.     Upon whose words are you ready to engage: your own or the Lord’s?


Share: What surprises have you discovered in a challenging territory before?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Territory: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Reading: Joshua 2

“According to your words, so be it.” Joshua 2: 21

Have you ever been thrown into a new responsibility with almost no warning and no ‘to do’ list of guidelines? You have no idea what your reception will be but are expecting hostility, so you approach with caution. Or perhaps barrel on it taking a firm grip of authority.

Joshua sent two spies across the Jordan river into hostile territory with a brief mandate, “Go, view the land, especially Jericho.” That’s all they had. To them fell the responsibility to gather critical information. So they took lodgings in the house of a harlot, probably hoping to stay under the radar and unnoticed.

Instead, because she had heard, she immediately witnessed to them her belief in God and His intent to take the land. And boldly asked for refuge for herself, her family and their kin. “Swear to me by the Lord,” she said.

Perhaps the spies expected a possible confrontation with the men in the city, or perhaps captivity, but did they expect a woman, a harlot, to demand confirmation that God not only was who she believed He was, but were these two spies were confidant enough as well to trust His words for themselves and for this foreigner. Did they wonder if they could make that promise?

All three of them had to choose to accept whether they believed God’s words would bring hope and life or destruction. The decision required concrete action and not a generic maybe. And the spies gave their word in the middle of enemy territory. And Rahab accepted with trust. “So be it.”

With so little history they all agreed with confidence Rahab’s affirmation that. “The Lord your God is indeed God in heaven above and on earth below.”

Lord, we have both Your spoken words and Your written words and too often we forget to stand on Your protection in enemy territory and/or forget to share that trust when in the midst of a conflict. Whether confronting a misunderstanding or facing down a monumental challenge, please help us to listen and act upon Your truth in faith.


Psalm of Worship: Psalm 122: 7-8

“Peace be within your walls, and security within your towers.
For the sake of my relatives and friends, I will say, ‘Peace be within you’.”


Friday, October 17, 2014

Be Strong: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Be Strong

First came words of counsel
direct details, ordinary expectations
proceed.

Follow footsteps as taught,
push forward.

Second came words of courage
obey your laws,
firm steps.

Take care to remember
fail not promise.

Final came words of command
be strong, be courageous
no fear.

Resist trap of dismay
now enter land.

So he listened to God’s words
stepped out in faith
secure.

submissive to God’s will
strength supplied.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Reflection Command: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Are you waiting to step into a ‘new land’? What is holding you back?

2.     Do you tend to rush into new opportunities without counsel, or do you need to have all the steps mapped out before you trust. Or somewhere in between?

3.     How has your style affected your trust in the Lord’s presence?

4.     What is the most recent command He has given you? Are you ready to obey?


Share: What words of promise sustain you when dismay paralyzes your obedience?


Monday, October 13, 2014

Command: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Reading: Joshua 1

“I hereby command you: Be strong and courageous, do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

For forty years the new nation of Israel had waited to enter the territory that the Lord God had promised them. Not because God had stripped His promise of power but because the people had listened to the fear from the original scouts so many years earlier and relinquished the opportunity to enter the land before them. Only Caleb and Joshua had pleaded with the people to trust the Lord.

But fear had paralyzed them even though God had already released them from slavery. And they would not step into God’s words. And they did not trust His message.

Now Moses had died, the generation from Egypt had passed and God told Joshua, “Now proceed to cross the Jordan.” “I will not fail you or forsake you.”

Once again the promises were given. And with them came commands to step out in confidence and courage and trust.

God acknowledged their dismay, their fear, their uncertainty, their weakness, their limited resources and their inexperience. However He commanded them to trust Him instead. He reminded them to follow the laws He had given them. He directed their focus. “Do not turn to the right or to the left that you may be successful wherever you go.”

Repeatedly He told them to be strong and courageous, to be strong and very courageous.  Again the decision lay before them. Not only the land itself but also the choice to believe in God’s words, accept His promises, and obey His directions.

He understood their quaking hearts. Yet the only way they could rise above their fear and step into a new beginning and a new life was to choose to fix their eyes on Him and follow.

Lord, You still call us to move into new life, to follow where You lead, and still we let fear paralyze us. Thank you for reminding us that by Your help and Your presence we can choose to trust Your words. Thank you for supplying courage to obey Your truth and in turn share with others Your words of hope.



Psalm of Worship: Psalm 121: 8

“The Lord will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.”



Friday, October 3, 2014

Trust: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Trust                                   


To kneel before the

journey is to accept

all consequences;

trust

the heartbeat to

walk the road

itself a healing

hand

laid upon

shoulder like

a knight’s

ordination.

                       
Excerpt from Pilgrimage

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Reflection Introduction: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Do you ever think of yourself as an ambassador for Christ or an envoy for His messages?

2.     Does it make a difference whether or not you have gifts of evangelism and mercy? Why? Why not?

3.     How can those who don’t have ‘people’ skills or education still be ambassadors?

4.     When can actions speak louder than words to share truth with someone?
           


Share: What is one word of God’s character that you wish everyone could understand?

 
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