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Monday, August 31, 2015

Peter: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Reading: Acts 2:14

“But Peter, standing with the eleven, raised his voice and addressed them, ‘Men of Judea and all who live in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and listen to what I say.’”

Peter loved Jesus with his whole heart.

Peter walked with Him faithfully from the first day they met—even when questions bewildered him and caused him to stumble.

Peter truly believed he would die for Jesus.

But Peter betrayed Him. He lied, he ran away, he hid.

Now here, on this day, he not only stands with the eleven, but speaks out in a loud voice drawing attention. Ready to be put on display. Ready regardless of consequences.

Now stepping into the name Jesus first gave him. Even though maybe still very afraid.

But not letting anything of his own nature or opinion or misunderstandings stand in the way of speaking out. Of sharing with truth a crowd of strangers.

Now willing to be guided by the Holy Spirit. To be faithful to Jesus’ trust.

Now filled with a whole new perspective.

Lord, give us Your courage to exchange our words of dust for Your words of life. Keep us from worrying about ourselves and instead become signposts of Your grace and mercy. Whenever—wherever—to whom ever—You ask us to share.


Psalm of Worship: Genesis 1:14

“And God said, ‘let there be light in the dome of the sky to separate the day from the night; and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years.’”


Friday, August 28, 2015

Jaded: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



                     Jaded


            Faced with amazement

            some looked for a catch

            not willing, or not yet,

            to accept astonishment

            at miracle unfolding

            too jaded by world

            too cautious to trust

            too many times disappointed

            by false words

            promises not kept

            attribute to God

            human failings.

            First step of hope—wonder, not jeer.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Reflection: Sneered: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     How do you distinguish between caution and cynicism?

2.      In what ways have past disappointments or broken promises influence your faith relationship with the Lord?

3.     When faced with the possibility of truth or lies do you ask questions publicly or privately? Why?

4.     In what respect can either version shed light positively or negatively?


Share: What first step do you take to determine whether a situation is valid or false?

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sneered: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Reading: Acts 2:13

“But others sneered and said, ‘They are filled with new wine.’”

These scoffers at least had the courage to speak their ridicule aloud. To go on record for saying give me proof. Perhaps some secretly longed this was all true but could not bring themselves to believe what they saw.

Today with all the advanced multi-media technology we can rarely trust anything that is presented at face value. Caution is a must with our culture’s advanced schemes and marketing.

And yet maybe we have become so jaded world wise that it subconsciously undermines real faith opportunities and perspective. We struggle to recognize real answers to prayer. We may not actually sneer in our hearts but silently let fear clog the opportunity to step into true light and healing and hope. We think it might be possible in theory—possible for someone else—but not for us.

“Ask, and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.” Matthew7:7 NAS

And we hesitate, or reluctantly turn away, because it seems too good to be true.

Lord, please give us sight to truly see You. Give us faith to trust. And give us discernment to clearly recognize Your words in our lives.


Psalm of Worship: Genesis 1:13

“And there was evening and there was morning, the third day.”


Friday, August 21, 2015

Questions: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Questions


            Honest questions

            are not ignored

            better to stop

            that plunge into

            ignorance. Standing on

            Holy ground

            time to pause,

            listen, pray,

            submit to answers

            in faith.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Reflection: Perplexed: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Do you have a tendency to bring your questions to the Lord first or last? Why?

2.     How difficult is it for us to wait personally, or as a fellowship, for a long-term answer?

3.     How can we shift our waiting time into Holy ground instead of worried anxiety?

4.     How does the question, “What does this mean?” apply to a situation in your life right now?


Share: Read Isaiah 55. What word in this passage amazes and perplexes you? Which gives you hope?


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Perplexed: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Reading: Acts 2:12

“All were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?’”

A recent article on FB noted that young children ask an average of close to three hundred questions per day, and other research says four year olds often ask over 400.

Curiosity is hardwired into us—especially if we have a desire to learn and connect.

My two year old grandson repeatedly asks, “what is it”, these days as he adds to his vocabulary. He often repeats his new word a few times and nods happily. But not so much to his sometimes follow up questions of “why”, when either I don’t know the answer, or don’t have a vocabulary that he can reason through. His frown and disappointment in me is tangible.

“A mystery, in the biblical sense, is simply a truth that has not yet been revealed. The only way to understand it rightly is through the interpretation of the Spirit of God.” Oswald Chambers

How often do we bring our spiritual questions to each other, or try to figure them out ourselves, and forget that our human replies are limited. Too often we settle for surface explanations, correct or not, and miss a depth invitation waiting to grow closer to the Lord.

“‘For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Neither are your ways My ways,’ declares the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8 NAS

Lord, thank you for Your open invitation to come and ask and seek and listen. Help us to remember to look past the surface and search for Your light in our lives and Your path through our confusion.


Psalm of Worship: Genesis 1:12

“The earth brought forth vegetation: plants yielding seed of every kind, and trees of every kind bearing fruit with the seed in it. And God saw that it was good.”

Friday, August 14, 2015

Power: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


           
            Power


            Power spoken.

            God’s deeds

            proclaimed

            not world manipulated

            provision of heart

            redeeming love

            prophesied

            now a reality

            purpose revealed.

            Power His love.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Reflection: Deeds: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     How often do you think we confuse speaking our own words instead of God’s when we share our witness?

2.     How often when we share with family and friends?

3.     What could be a filter to keep us as His seed bearers?

4.     Do you recognize God’s words as real power to create changed hearts? Changed circumstances? Changed results?


Share: How has the Lord spoken His words of power into you this week?


Monday, August 10, 2015

Deeds: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Reading: Acts 2:11

“Cretans and Arabs—in our own languages we hear them speaking about God’s deeds of power.”

How often do we hastily speak words we think should be said to another, or think others want or need to hear, and then they are weak and dissolve into air? Because they are our words and not the Lord’s.

His words alone have the power to change lives.  Now and into eternity.

“In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” 1 John 4: 11

God’s power is love. His love is powerful.

Too often I don’t speak love as I should. Instead too many negative demands and accusations and complaints pour out. These words seed conflict and anxiety and dismay. Tainted word seeds. Self-centered, instead of God centered.

“…nor any created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:39

His deeds of power.

Lord, please fill our inner hearts with You so that only Your words can flow out.


Psalm of Worship: Genesis 1:11

“Then God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation: plants yielding seed, and fruit trees of every kind on earth that bear fruit with the seed inside it.” And it was so.”


Friday, August 7, 2015

Worship: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


           
            Neighbor


            Neighbor countries

            foreign countries

            powerful and non-descript

            they came seeking

            waiting—wondering now at

public display

            did they remember

            Scripture words

            from east—west—north—south

            My people shall come.

            Was it to happen

            now—here—this prophecy?

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Reflection: Foreign: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry




Reflection Questions


1.     Have you mostly experienced a ‘by invitation only’, or an open door, house of worship?

2.      What do you consider to be the strengths or weaknesses of each approach?

3.     In what ways does your place of worship influence your heart of worship both within and without the physical location?



Share: Have you been able to participate in a multicultural, multi-language, or multi-denominational worship? What brought fellowship to the gathering?

Monday, August 3, 2015

Foreign: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Reading: Acts 2:10

“Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, both Jews and proselytes,”


Friendly countries. Enemy countries.

Stronger countries.

Jews and Gentiles.

Seeking—waiting—worshipping.

Together despite their outer differences, culture, education, appearance, color, wealth, or style.

Together in heart intent. At great distance. Great trials endured for the privilege of celebrating the Passover in Jerusalem.

How often since do Your churches, houses of worship, separate and judge each other from eternal criteria. Anything that is ‘foreign’ to our gatherings.

How often do we as Your people reject or judge another without cause. Without truth-filled hearts.

Instead, Lord, help us to recognize Your invitation to come into our worship as fellow seekers, into our lives and homes as members of Your family.

Keep us from allowing prejudice to take root and instead open our hearts to receive and give in fellowship from all corners of Your created earth and from all corners within our cities.

You alone can judge each heart by Your word. May we remember and recognize fellow worshippers and offer hospitality. Let us not dismiss what You see as good.



Psalm of Worship: Genesis 1:10

“God called the dry land Earth, and the waters that were gathered together he called Seas. And God saw that it was good.”

 
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