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Friday, April 21, 2017

Shoes: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


            Shoes


            Different shoes for

            different days

            each has a purpose

            each to keep walking

            for whatever is necessary

            for destination

            multiple ways

            multiple preparation

            proclaim gospel of peace

            proclaim hope

            just choose whatever works


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            just choose to wear them.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Reflection Proclaim: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     What defines “peace” to you? External or internal or both? What does it look like?

2.     What person in your life do you consider a peacemaker? In what ways do their actions or attitudes confirm that quality?

3.     Where are you struggling to live in gospel peace right now?


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Share: What possible “shoes” could help you share gospel peace this week?

Monday, April 17, 2017

Proclaim: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Ephesians 6:15

“As shoes for your feet put on whatever will make you ready to proclaim the gospel of peace.”


“Whatever” in today’s slang tends to mean “who cares” as in a true disinterest for a topic, or to hide a curiosity behind a personae of indifference.

Yet “whatever” in scripture builds from a foundation of commitment, opportunity, and promises.

“How lovely on the mountains are the feet of him who bring good news,” says the prophet Isaiah (52:7), “who announces peace and brings good news of happiness, who announces salvation, And says to Zion, ‘Your God reigns!’”

We love good news. We cherish those who bring it to us and we hurry to pass it along to others we care about. What about those God cares about? How do we share His peace that is beyond our own understanding? Real peace. Not an external standoff but an internal reality that can holds on.

Soft slippers, spiked heels, metal boots, strong hiking shoes, playful sneakers, or vulnerable bare feet to walk and run alongside with words of hope and peace and restoration. By whatever means of communication: silent or verbal.

Music, scripture, prayers, art, dance, sports. Whatever means of  sharing God’s presence here and now and forever.

Lord, help us to proclaim Your gospel of peace Your way.


Psalm of Worship: Isaiah 55:9


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“For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

Friday, April 14, 2017

Held: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



           Held


            Belt attaches us

            to truth

            holding us firm

            from falling away

            trusting His thoughts

            breastplate our covering

            soaked in grace

            wrapped in protection

            from lies


            trusting His path.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Reflection Fasten: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     In what situations have you ever had difficulty standing for truth? Why?

2.     In what situations have you ever had to keep the truth hidden? Why?

3.     Why do you think righteousness does provide a covering for us, especially when we have seen its misuse?

4.      Have you seen God’s truth twisted into lies? How and why?


Share: What has given you strength to stand for truth in your life?


Monday, April 10, 2017

Fasten: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Ephesians 6:14

“Stand therefore, and fasten the belt of truth around your waist, and put on the breastplate of righteousness.”

Have you ever had difficult discerning what is truth? Or how to process it?

When the Israelites faced Goliath they saw the truth of his power—his size, his strength, his victories, and knew without a doubt that he could not be defeated. And they were right.

David too acknowledged the ineffectiveness of human armor to battle Goliath, and removed the protection that Saul had given him. But David’s truth went beyond human capability and instead he looked solely to the Lord’s power and truth. And used the wisdom God gave him to be victorious.

The apostle Paul counsels Timothy to warn his listeners not to “wrangle about words, which is useless.” He advised that wordly and empty chatter would spread and lead to ungodliness. Instead, Paul says, be diligent, …. “handling accurately  the word of truth.”

God’s truth which goes far deeper and powerful.  Unshakeable. Unbreakable.

Honest. Sincere. Whole. Timeless.

That is the truth we can fasten to and know is trustworthy.

Lord, please give us Your truth as our breath, and Your righteousness as our covering.


Psalm of Worship: Isaiah 55:8

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord.”


Friday, April 7, 2017

Take: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


           Take


            Take up the armor

            gift of ability

            to withstand by

            grace’s protective one

            trusted and proven

            given as a choice

            to each individual

            God’s abundant pardon


            timeless invitation.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Reflection: Withstand: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     The Lord says to take the whole, but we often only take a portion. Why?

2.     In what areas are you most vulnerable? How do you lean on the Lord for His protection?

3.     In what areas are you most strong? Do you still lean on His strength? Why or why not?


       Share: Where do you need help to stand firm today?


Monday, April 3, 2017

Withstand: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Ephesians 6:13

“Therefore, take up the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm.

No sugarcoating. No deceit. No pretense.

“On that evil day” that will happen. The definition of the evil day may change. And sometimes we cannot always identify what or why another considers a day evil or cruel or desperate.

But the Lord does. He knows what is a breaking point for each of us. He knows what turns our heart into fear or ice. He knows the battles within and without.

“Take.” He cares. He protects. He gives the warning.

He allows us to choose whether or not to accept His armor.

And yet we still resist, or pick and choose when, or if, we will take a portion. Maybe denial of the battle we face. Maybe we don’t want to admit our weakness. Maybe we don’t want to ‘owe’ Him, or think we have to.

“So that you may be able to withstand.”

Only His armor can give us full protection. Only in His graceful love can we stand.

Lord, please give us the humility to accept Your pardon and protection.


Psalm of Worship: Isaiah 55:7

“Let the wicked forsake their way, and the unrighteous their thoughts; let them return to the Lord, that he may have mercy on them, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.”


Friday, March 31, 2017

Struggle: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



           Struggle           

           
            Like Job the

            battle is so far

            beyond our comprehension,

            we see only despair

            weeping before us

            cannot fathom the

            cosmic war surrounding

            our lives

            our hearts.

            Lean on the Lord.

            

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Reflection: Cosmic: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Reflection Questions


1.     Do you ever consider that your battle, within or without, may have a cosmic meaning? Why or why not?

2.     If so, how might that change your perspective in the midst of despair?

3.     How will that change the way you cope with the struggle before you?

4.     What seems beyond comprehension in your life right now?


Share: What enables you to trust God without understanding the darkness?



Monday, March 27, 2017

Cosmic: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Ephesians 6:12

“For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”

Does it feel like a surprise or shock that our personal struggles could be cosmic based? That, like Job, we may be in a battle zone that not only is far beyond our understanding, but also far beyond our capacity to see beyond our despair, sorrows, and fear. Whether for ourselves alone, or for others around us.

How can we stand firm in His protection? How can we support each other in the face of devastation?

Job’s friends tried to explain his situation in an attempt at support as well. They asked him to check for sure that he hadn’t committed a sin, or was hiding one. They tried some platitudes of their day. They attempted to analyze some scripture as a condolence.

I think we do the same to each other silently or openly when we face devastation. We attempt to offer words of hope both to our friends and ourselves and mostly end up not in tune with God’s words at all. No matter how much we care.

Because we can’t see the whole picture. We can’t see the implications of past and future. We often can’t deal with the present. Whether a personal struggle or a cosmic attack we cannot battle on our own strength. We cannot face battle with only human alliances. We cannot depend on our limited perspective.

We can accept the Lord’s provision of His armor and hold onto His promises.

Lord, please give us strength and courage to trust beyond sight in Your power and glory and victory regardless of the battle.


Psalm of Worship: Isaiah 55:6


“Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon him while he is near;”

Friday, March 24, 2017

Stand: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



            Stand

            Weakness turns into strength
            only when acknowledged,
            released into promised
            power.

            Stand firm in promise
            of strength that endures
            relinquish  self-hold, enter
            purpose.

            Whole armor
            not just bits and pieces
            that we choose
            leaving us vulnerable
            easy targets for
            lies and treachery
            to confuse our actions.

            Seek God’s armor
            not our own replicas
            based on misconceptions
            that block His voice
            and hinder our understanding
            instead accept His cover
            then stand firm.


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Reflection: Armor: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Do you automatically seek God’s strength first or do you try to stand on your own before you seek His power?

2.     What difference can seeking His armor first make in conflict?

3.     What specific ‘wiles’ break down your trust or security in God’s offered protection



Share: What weakness do you need to acknowledge right now?

Monday, March 20, 2017

Armor: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Ephesians 6:10-11

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. Put on the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

Have you ever resisted valid common sense advice from a trusted friend? Why? Perhaps because we don’t want to seem vulnerable? I know I have, and then later wondered why—especially when I knew they were being both accurate and caring.

Maybe it is difficult to admit our weaknesses and acknowledge that there are ‘wiles’ that lead us into bad decisions with negative consequences.  Or into outright blatant sin.

Then, when we try to manufacture our own self-protection and fail, we become disappointed in God. Yet He alone knows all the details all the time. He is the only one that can identify the battle we are up against. And His armor is the only solid protection.

Because often the battle is not just what we are facing outwardly but goes even deeper into our heart and soul.  

When Jesus was weak with hunger and isolation the devil offered Him wealth and power and prestige. (Luke 4) But with each temptation lured before Him, Jesus stood on scripture and God’s character to respond. “It is written…serve only him…do not…were His armor for that particular battle.

And God extends His armor to us as well, so that we never need to be alone or without His strength to enable us to stand.

Lord, you have given each of us Your means to stand firm in You alone. May we accept all Your gifts of armor and not just pick and choose in our limited understanding.


Psalm of Worship: Isaiah 55:5


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“See, you shall call the nations that you do not know, and nations that do not know you shall run to you. Because of the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has glorified you.”
 
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