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Monday, October 31, 2016

Messiah: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Acts 2:34-36

“For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says,  ‘The Lord said to my Lord, Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’ Therefore let the entire house of Israel know with certainty that God has made him both Lord and Messiah, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

“Whom you crucified.” It helps to put the burden on the people back then.

Until we remember that our Messiah died to remove all sin for all time and that includes us.

My personal sins contributed to His crucifixion.

I don’t want to think about that aspect or accept that responsibility. I want to concentrate only on His redeeming grace and my gratitude.

It’s so much easier to focus on our own successes and rest a little on His grace before admitting there is a whole lot more excavation to do inside our hearts than we would like to admit. Yet the hidden stuff can become like toxic black mold that insidiously corrupts. And keeps our relationship with the Lord at arms’ length.

Sometimes we’re just too busy to take time to notice, or don’t think of it as a sin, or think we are in control, or it’s so minor an attitude it can’t be all that bad. Or we’re not doing anything different from lots of others. Our excuses and denials can build into picture perfect reasoning. Or into a Pharisee.

Denying the reason Messiah came. To restore—to redeem. To rebuild the broken relationship with Him. To bring His light into the world’s darkness—into our darkness. But first we need to acknowledge our denials.

Lord, please help us to keep our hearts and minds and souls open before You.


Psalm of Worship: Genesis 1:29

“God said, ‘See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food.’”


Friday, October 28, 2016

Spirit: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

           

            Spirit
           
           
            Astonishment, ridicule

            disbelief often

            reactions towards

            unexpected

            especially when

            miracles are shared.


            And so, this time

            denial impossible

            rushing Spirit flows

            unhindered

            example concrete


            manifold witness.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Reflection: Manifold: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     What keeps us from trusting the Holy Spirit even when we cannot deny words from the Lord?

2.     How do we stay open and at the same time be discerning for fraudulent mimics?

3.     Why are we tempted to ignore a clear witness?


Share: What helps you to discern the Spirit’s witness?



Monday, October 24, 2016

Manifold: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Acts 2:32-33

“This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you both see and hear.

Witness given.

Spirit poured out as both seen and heard.

No possibility of error or misunderstanding. Concrete evidence by multiple people across a wide spectrum of belief and unbelief, hope and critical. No movie cameras or cell phones to cut and paste, redesign, manufacture, or manipulate for market success.

Power undeniable.

Recognized.

Still present today to be both seen and heard except for the barriers we raise. Are we truly hearing the Spirit’s voice or making up our own version? Is that word from the Lord really meant for me now, or am I being presumptuous?

We manage to excuse and ignore even when we are sure we heard the word spoken. Why? Or make too much noise to hear the Spirit’s whisper.

Manifold witness continues despite our limitations.

His power pours out as promised. Delivered despite our doubts.

Lord, give us courage to listen and to trust and to receive.


Psalm of Worship: Genesis 1:28


“God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.’”

Friday, October 21, 2016

Image: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


            Image


            Cyclical nature images

            life’s beat

            birth—growth—decay

            rebirth.


            Nothing living can escape

            corruption of age

            death part of journey

            for some an end

            yet one alone opens

            new door.


            Creator designs

            another realm

            eternity invitation

            not escape,

            a new road to live

            life made whole by


            Carpenter’s sacrifice.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Reflection: Decay: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Reflection Questions

1.     When have you doubted God’s promise of eternity?

2.     Do you accept His design of each of us created in His image? Why? Or why not?

3.     Does the cycle of life give you hope or fear?



Share: What oath from God gives you the strength to hold on in times of  distress?


Monday, October 17, 2016

Decay: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Acts 2: 29-31

“Fellow Israelites, I may say to you confidently of our ancestor David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn an oath to him that he would put one of his descendants on his throne. Forseeing this David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying, ‘He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh experience corruption.’”

A promise made to which David clung throughout turmoil, war, death, and corruption. A relationship he cherished. He saw beyond the limitations of earth bound decay to God’s promises. He trusted God’s oath—living—breathing words beyond man’s experience.

Although not descendants of David, we too are given the same promise of a new life—a new image—a future and a hope beyond the cycle of creation.

And yet we do not often trust. Instead we fight to conquer the corruptions of heart and body and mind and death with our limited skills. Not ready or willing to give up control, not willing to believe, or hope, in His image of resurrection. We hold onto our limited sense of power to find a way to cheat death our way.

A place is prepared for each of us. A promise extended to all. Nature unfolds the design cycle daily as one realm closes and new life grows again. Re-birth in His image the gift of life. Re-birth in His sacrifice the oath of eternal life.

Lord, help us to truly hear the blessing of Your invitation to live our lives in a daily relationship that fully trusts now and into a future You alone can give. The only source of no corruption or decay. Remind us daily that You have created us in Your image.


Psalm of Worship: Genesis 1: 27


“So God created humankind in his image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.”

Friday, October 14, 2016

Known: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


            Known

           
            Squiggly lines on parchment

            Straighten into words of wonder.

            Blurry shapes of imagination

            blend into vision.

            Jumbled contours on maps

            join into detailed routes.

            That which was unknown

            territory droned as history

            now known as truth,

            nearness brings hope

            gladdens heart with anticipation.

            Guardian walks alongside.

            Regardless journey’s length.


            Restores every step.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Reflection: Gladness: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Reflection Questions


1.     In what ways did you depend on your own abilities before recognizing God’s ongoing presence?

2.     What helped you recognize His truth?

3.     How did your perception of life shift?



Share: How has a new truth gladdened your walk with Jesus?

Monday, October 10, 2016

Gladness: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Acts 2:28

“You have made known to me the things of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.”

The Lord has made known to us His presence.

His presence makes known to us the ways of life. According to His creation.

When do we react with gladness to the news that we have been confused or deceived or misunderstood by ourselves or by others?  Sometimes a defensive barrier of excuses blocks our new perception. Because if we have been guided by wrong information then suddenly a whole new process of accountability stretches before us.

And yet—what gladness—to realize that in our weakness we have been loved. We have been sought after. We have been given a new strength—a new hope. The Lord does not leave us in the dark.

He offers His likeness—His creation—His power—His presence.

We no longer have to struggle alone in our weakness and sorrow. Wonder begins to shape our vision. Days can become a new journey, a new adventure.

Restoration.

Thank you Lord, that You walk with us moment by moment and give us Your time, Your ways, Your likeness, and Your words to guide and shape all our days.



Psalm of Worship: Genesis 1:26

“Then God said, ‘Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.’”



Friday, October 7, 2016

Redeem: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



            Redeem


            Like leprosy seen

            sin unseen brings

            decay, corruption

            abandonment

            souls lost

            removed from love.


            God alone keeps

            watch, free from

            stain stands by

            waiting to redeem

            all with compassion


            regardless how long.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Reflection: Abandon: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Think of a time when you felt abandoned? What was your worst fear?

2.     How do you deal with corruption around you in your daily life?

3.     What barrier have you put up against God’s light in a time of despair?




Share: In what ways has Jesus taken away your fears?

Monday, October 3, 2016

Abandon: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Reading: Acts 2:27

“For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One experience corruption.”

God will not abandon us—ever.

Do we fully believe that with all of our being? Do we act on that promise in the darkest moments?

What about the corruption all around us? What about the corruption within us? Doesn’t that change the outcome? We are marked with stains.

Why do we allow the fear to creep into our hearts and minds when we have experienced His grace and forgiveness?

Perhaps because even when we are able to forgive, or be forgiven, by those closest to us, we still hold on to some emotional barriers of protection against a repeat.  And convince ourselves we are just being responsible instead of admitting we are afraid to trust them just yet, or at all.

Peter had seen Jesus’ miracles many times but resisted the idea of Jesus washing his feet. When Jesus replied, “Unless I wash you, you have no share with me.” Then Peter volunteered for hands and head as well—everything to be washed. Not necessary, Jesus answered, you are already bathed, cleansed—just the feet. John 13:3-13

Maybe we too forget how easily the dirt and grime of each day can cling to us. And as it layers upon us the fear grows within us clouding our faith.

Jesus will not abandon us—ever.


Psalm of Worship: Genesis 1:25


“God made the wild animals of the earth of every kind, and everything that creeps upon the ground of every kind. And God saw that it was good.”
 
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