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Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Reflection: Debtors: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     To whom or what do you feel is an on going debt?

2.     Do you carry it lightly or with a heavy heart?

3.     Have you sought the Lord’s counsel on how to carry it?

4.     What would or could make it a debt of joy?


Share: Do you have a new word of hope?


Monday, November 20, 2017

Debtors: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


Reading: Romans 8:12

“So then, brothers and sisters, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh—.”

Debt is a heavy burden to carry whether financial or emotional or as mandated service. No matter whether the payment is to be immediate or long term its weight hovers like a shroud ready to envelope our lives.

So we automatically cringe at the thought of becoming debtors. Failure—obligation—loss.

Then we are called to become debtors to the Spirit—to Jesus—to God’s word, and the concept is a struggle to align with our mortal fears.

But the Lord’s language goes far beyond the confines of our understanding. His debt to us is of love. A love also beyond our comprehension, and a debt we can never pay back.  A lifted up love that invites a debt that shares in everything. He invites us to become debtors so that we can live deeply in a relationship of forgiveness and hope.

A debt that is chosen. One that He chose to pay for our lives. A debt that costs everything and lasts forever. A debt of grace shared beyond any walls or boundaries or limitations that we can imagine.

Thank you, Lord, for providing us with a debt that brings hope and mercy and forgiveness. May we also become such debtors and offer the same to others.



Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:11

“For wisdom is better than jewels, and all that you may desire cannot compare with her.”


Friday, November 17, 2017

Breath: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


                       Breath


                        Bombarded by cardboard

                        advertisements

                        world promised

                        health and wealth

                        life worth living

                        except all dissolves,

                        decays after warranty

                        sometimes before.

                       
                        Breath of life comes through

                        Advocate

                        word promised

                        hope and wonder

                        life worthy of living

                        everlasting relationships

                        devoted fellowship


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                        steadfast always.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Reflection: Dissolves: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


Reflection Questions


1.     What is your definition of a life worth living?

2.     How connected is your external life to your heart?

3.     What would cause you to wake with joy every morning?

4.     Each morning, this week, make one positive step towards that in prayer.


Share: One aspect of joy you appreciate.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Dissolves: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Romans 8:11

“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will give life to your mortal bodies also through his Spirit that dwells in you.”

Choose.

How to respond— to react to a person or situation before us.

How to decide what is of true value and what is polished debris ready to dissolve.

How to live each day fully instead of as captive drudgery or contempt.

Creation.

By God’s grace we are given the freedom to choose how to reply to our lives. Even in chains of struggle in relationships, career, health, finances, and forced responsibilities.

We can follow the world’s ways that most often dissolve and decay. Or.

We can accept the Spirit’s offer to guide us into life sowing seeds of hope. Words that breath growth. Words that release us from paralysis into action. Decay into freshness. Weakness into strength.

Lord, please pour Your truth into us and enable us to hear Your Spirit’s ongoing counsel.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:10


“Take my instruction instead of silver, and knowledge rather than choice gold.”

Friday, November 10, 2017

Righteousness: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



                       Righteousness


                        Full life

                        fresh mornings

                        creative thoughts

                        comforted heart

                        fellowship

                        faithfulness

                        calm in storm

                        competent in trials

                        real relationships

                        righteousness provided

                        all by Spirit’s power

                        always a gift of love.

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Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Reflection: Life: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     How much life in the Spirit do you experience each day?

2.     In what ways does the body of sin imprison us from living our days?

3.     In what area of your life do you most desire a fresh beginning this week?

4.     Pray through this week: “The Spirit is life because of righteousness with us.”


Share: How has someone shared the Lord’s righteousness with you recently?





Monday, November 6, 2017

Life: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Romans 8:10

“But if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, the Spirit is life because of righteousness.”


Lord, please keep us true to Your words of life.

We are so stuck in our sinfulness that we let circumstances guide our reactions instead of remembering the forgiven life You have bought for us.

Forgive us for continuing to focus on failure and exhaustion and resentment.

Thank you for new life. For new hope. For new beginnings.

Please keep us hungry to seek Your heart’s path.

Keep us abiding in You and sharing the life You give us with others.

Teach us what righteousness really is by Your grace and enable us to walk its path every day with faith and gratitude.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8: 9

“They are all straight to one who understands and right to those who find knowledge.”


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Friday, November 3, 2017

Astonished: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


                       Astonished


                        Plucked from mud pit

                        tattered clothes burned

                        body scrubbed clean

                        heart astonished.


                        Covered in new oil

                        draped in royal robes

                        brought into ballroom.


                        All within everyday normal

                        few notice new glow

                        hidden in ordinary routine.


                        Until joy seeps through


                        Sharing light.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Reflection: Belong: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Do we really understand that we live in the Spirit?

2.     How can that make a difference in our daily routines? Choices? Relationships?

3.     Do you sometimes feel like an imposter at the ball—not really deserving the invitation?

4.     Or are you in astonishment at the new life bringing hope and grace?


Share: What word helps you to hold onto this promise?



Monday, October 30, 2017

Belong: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Romans 8:9

“But you are not in the flesh; you are in the Spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.”

Credentials. Associations. Family. Activities.

To whom do we belong?

We are all considered admired or tainted by others who examine who they think we are. And perhaps too, by whom we think we are, because of our heritage, education, and life decisions. A mix of personal choices and passed down history.

Our version and perception of ourselves is clouded by both past and present. But the Lord’s view of each of us is different. He sees us as His creation woven in the womb, as who we are in His redemption, as who we will be as we live by His Spirit. Psalm 139

We focus on all that is wrong—all the loss and failures we so often repeat. Our sight is blurred when we trust only in ourselves—in the flesh.

“I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.” Isaiah 43:19 (NRSV)

His Spirit breaks through our charred hearts and faithless will. He sets us on His path. New hope—new beginnings—new heritage.

Thank you, Lord, for searching out each of each to belong to you. Thank you for Your ongoing protection in Your Spirit. Please keep us listening to Your nudges of life and keep us from falling back into old ways.



Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:8

“All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing twisted or crooked in them.”


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Friday, October 27, 2017

Separate: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


                        Separate


                        When our fists are clenched

                        we cannot receive a

                        friend’s warming hand  of

                        mercy softly caressing

                        away fear and sorrow

                        replacing dismay with hope.


                        When our heart and mind are

                        filled with only ourselves

                        our demands or interests

                        we cannot hear God’s

                        wisdom and counsel,


                        become separated from grace.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Reflection: Serve: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     How can we discern if our goals and plans have become things of the flesh?

2.     What are some ways we can examine our purposes to align with Scripture?

3.     How can resisting another’s advice become a warning sign? Or a confirmation?

4.     What steps have you taken this week to choose solutions that would please God?


Share: What was your first step?




Monday, October 23, 2017

Serve: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Romans 8: 8

“And those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

Have you ever been on such a tight agenda that you cannot even speak to another person for fear of being late or missing a connection? Or being derailed from your immediate goal?

Sometimes we do need to push through for an immediate deadline, but what happens when we begin to block out or ignore wisdom that can open doors to better possibilities?

We can get so caught up in accomplishment and agendas and deadlines that we forget to include people and ideas and relational connections. Self-centered instead of God-centered.

Jesus reminds his audience, “No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (NKJV) Mammon is often translated as money or wealth or earthly possessions.

What does our heart covet most?

Sometimes we may need to pause long enough to evaluate if we have unknowingly put up barriers against God’s will in order to be self-sufficient and productive in our desire to be His worker. Except somewhere along the path we became our own manager. And have become deaf to His words and purpose.

Lord, please keep all our moments open to the nudges of Your Spirit so that we keep even our good intentions in Your will.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:7


“For my mouth will utter truth; wickedness is an abomination to my lips.”

Friday, October 20, 2017

Strings: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



                       Strings


                       
                        Submission not a word

                        we embrace unless

                        for our own pursuits

                        on our time and pleasure.


                        Yet unseen we are

                        still bound to the

                        inner desires pulling

                        actions like puppet

                        strings hidden behind

                        decorated curtains.


                        Unless we accept

                        grace’s gift.


                        Then love abounds

                        gathering all our threads

                        into words of art.

                       


                       

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Reflection: Submission: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Do you feel that you submit to God’s law willingly? Why or why not?

2.     Scripture says we cannot on our own. How have you experienced that defeat?

3.     What makes the difference in this verse?

4.     What would that require by you yourself?


Share: What words would you like to speak to others?

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