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Friday, December 29, 2017

Inheritance: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



                       Inheritance


                        Such a mixed bag

                        inheritance

                        dysfunctional or “normal”

                        family history.


                        Genetics a breeze

                        or a life sentence.



                        Some stone cold broke

                        with love overflowing. Or



                        Golden riches with

                        Scrooge tightened fists.


                       
                        Timeless God calls

                        each to receive His

                        inheritance

                        none excluded

                        earthly suffering and joy

                        mixed by permanent

                        bond of love move into

                        eternity’s wholeness.

                       


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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Reflection: Heirs: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     What are some things you inherited from your family regardless of financial means?

2.     Has a negative bestowal been a burden or a blessing or both?

3.     We love to claim God’s promises to us, but they also often include suffering. How have you experienced this?

4.     When can blessings become burdens?


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Share: One burden that became a blessing.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Heirs: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Romans 8:17

“And if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ—if, in fact, we suffer with him so that we may also be glorified with him.”

Like fingerprints no family is the same. Personalities both blend and repel. The dynamics of each can change from year to year, situation to situation. We grow closer during suffering or shatter into pieces. We accept or acknowledge our heritage as a responsibility or a sentence, a blessing or a burden. We hold fast or we run away.

Regardless of our background, our present, our personal gifts or our sins, God extends His open invitation. To belong to His family—for eternity.

A full adoption. Not just in name only to provide basic daily needs, but a whole relationship overflowing with joy and sorrow, feast and famine. Daily walking together in all circumstances.

We crave the good parts of His inheritance and often try to ignore or resist the losses. And our failures. Maybe even thinking we have been abandoned or left out. Again.

Instead, maybe it is His trust that includes us in His family’s tribulations. Honing our faith—understanding compassion—being prepared to live into a new heritage in a new strength and purpose. One that also embraces our birth family’s history no matter how beaten and broken, seemingly perfect and polished.

Lord, please help us to understand what it really means to live each day as an heir in your family. And discover love’s wholeness.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:16

“By me rulers rule, and nobles, all who govern rightly.”


Friday, December 22, 2017

Stillness: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



                       Stillness


                        Too many false witnesses

                        manage to skirt the law

                        manipulate and desecrate

                        truth with subterfuge.


                        So we hesitate to accept

                        Word given on merit only.

                       
                        Sense of longing to believe

                        without fear, anxiety.

                       
                        Creates internal turmoil

                        trying to discern

                        calm in stillness answers


                        trust Spirit alone.

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Reflection: Witness: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


Reflection Questions

1.     Do you struggle to discern the Spirit’s voice?

2.     What helps you recognize the witness He alone can give?

3.     How has reading Scripture brought clarity to a new understanding by the Spirit’s leading?


Share: What does “walking with the Spirit” look like for you?

Monday, December 18, 2017

Witness: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Romans 8:16

“It is that very Spirit bearing witness with our spirit that we are children of God.”

“What is truth?” Pilate asked Jesus making clear his own opinion was that truth varied from a variety of opinions. Regardless of authenticity.

False witnesses still abound today. Sometimes so much so that we don’t even trust ourselves. We know when we need guidance and clarity but there are too many voices offering answers. Even those with good intentions but are just as much in error as we are.

Often we might still our busy schedules for a portion of quiet and stillness but realize we can’t quiet ourselves. Our thoughts continue to race with possibilities, or keep circling a problem with no solution. Or deliberately resist the word we are asking for because it will require a change that we resist.

Even in chosen silence we can manage to keep the Spirit’s witness at arm’s length.

Yet, if we are willing to let go of the fear and anxiety and trust His words then His wisdom and discernment will sustain and guide us.

Then we can truly be still in our spirit and be calm and ready to hear the Spirit’s voice bearing witness to whom we belong. Giving witness always to our new heritage of grace. Ongoing wisdom.

“Let me not go timidly, half-heartedly, carelessly, presumably.”  Charles Spurgeon

Lord, please help us to truly listen to Your Spirit.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:15

“By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just.”


Friday, December 15, 2017

Cherished: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



                       Cherished


                        Not taken into slavery

                        as a chained laborer

                        even in a spacious household

                        but adopted

                        as a family.


                        Chosen love

beyond

                        formal legalities.


                        A relationship

                        cherished

as an infant

                        clings to daddy


                        in full trust.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Reflection: Chosen: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     In what ways do you feel your birth family has abandoned you or forgotten you?

2.     Do you expect the same attention from God?

3.     In what ways have you been “adopted” by friends or a church family?

4.     Does the experience of chosen love change your heart’s sense of belonging? How?


Share: What is one word you’d like to be able to give to another in your situation?




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Monday, December 11, 2017

Chosen: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Romans 8: 15

“For you did not receive a spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received a spirit of adoption. When we cry “Abba Father!”

To adopt is a choice. It is a chosen love filled with mercy and compassion and joy. And responsibility.

Sometimes it seems foreign to our own hearts and we struggle to understand the choice and commitment and recognize that we are the recipients of this grace—this mercy that in the Lord’s hands is never undone.

His adoption of each of us goes far beyond the legalities and formalities. He chooses the intimate word Abba—Daddy to express how deeply committed He is to His children.  Involved—Interested—Invested—Immanuel. God with us.

“By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit.” 1 John 4:13

Once His we are never abandoned by Him. Even when we run away.

Thank you Lord for Your steadfast love for us in all circumstances. Please remove our fears in our failures that put up barriers and emotionally pull us away. Help us to keep our hearts abiding in You as You abide in us.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:14

“I have good advice and sound wisdom; I have insight, I have strength.”



Friday, December 8, 2017

Trust: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



                       Trust



                        To whom do we listen

                        when selfishness

                        arrogance lures

                        before us?


                        Whispers lies into our hearing

                        that we long to comply

                        or resist in trust waiting

                        for Spirit’s clear voice.


                        Wisdom pierces sabotage

                        faithful protection

                        we learn to follow


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                        trust like a child.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Reflection: Led: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Do you see yourself as under God’s protective care?

2.     What positive or negative feelings do you need to identify?

3.     How does our emotional history keep us from allowing His voice to lead us?

4.     In what area of your life do you find it most difficult to trust with a whole heart?

Share: What word has given you a new perspective this week?


Monday, December 4, 2017

Led: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Romans 8:14

“For all who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God.”

There is no shortage of opinion and advice open to us in today’s culture. Especially with social media. Perfect strangers have no hesitation voicing their thoughts and we have no idea what is true or false.

Then we add in all the voices of those we know personally and trust, but among them may come a wide variety of advice as well.

Next we examine our own desires and try to weed out which are healthy aims and which are dangerous to us personally. Plus we each have a strong inner resistance to being told what to do based on personal history. Especially if we have experienced neglectful or rigid authority with parents or family or churches.

Being led can sound passive or manipulative. We become distracted and confused and wary. The protective instinct is a healthy first reaction. Except when our experiences keep us separated from understanding or recognizing God’s unique care for each of us.

Oswald Chambers says, “The Holy Spirit can anoint our spiritual eyes with salve.”

Our Lord hears our hearts. He knows our fears. He alone can fully assess our strengths and weaknesses. He will never leave us or forsake us. To Him each one of us is His precious child.

So beyond our comprehension and experience even in the very best of relationships.

Yet, when we begin to listen in stillness the confusion and distractions and fears become clearer and smaller. We can begin to push back the false and see priorities and choices and desires from a grace-filled love. And become led in hope.

Thank you, Lord, for Your healing leadership that opens our days into new perspectives.  Thank you for giving us the gift to trust Your protection to led us.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:13

“The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate.”





Friday, December 1, 2017

Ask: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


                       ASK


                        So many pursuits

                        offer challenge

                        opportunity

                        fresh perspective

                        yet end in emptiness.


                        If heart does not first

                        inspire by Spirit’s nudge

                        then even good is can become waste.


                        Wisdom and prudence

                        offer discernment

                        if we would take the


                        time to ask.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Reflection: Pursuit: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     What is the difference between wasted time and solitary time?

2.     How easy is it for you to recognize?

3.     What activity drains your heart and leaves you empty afterwards?

4.     What is a specific soul-filling time for you?


Share: How do you apply that peace practically?


Monday, November 27, 2017

Pursuit: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Romans 8: 13

“For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

How often have we pursued a goal to its end with the realization that if we could only have seen ahead where it would end up we would never have become involved?

From trying out a seemingly simple recipe to a multi-layered project we may only recognize the wasted time in hindsight. A few hours we can shrug off with laughter or a sigh, but a long pursuit that encompassed all our time and energy that ends in emptiness lingers. It can create despair or emptiness or sorrow or a hardened heart. We close ourselves off and choose not to risk any more.

Even the ones that are considered a success to others. A good effort—a good outreach—a good investment. And yet personally, a misuse of ourselves. Maybe because we followed someone else’s vision without clarification. We sometimes don’t discern a call between encouragement and involvement.

Following good pursuits without discretion can create as much barrenness as following wrong activities. And we can become resistant or reluctant to respond when the Spirit nudges us to a new challenge or opportunity.

Then our human failures can barricade us from living in the Spirit’s promises and opportunities.  So we need to ask ourselves—whose voice have we become attuned to?

Lord, please guide all our steps with the discernment to recognize waste and embrace Your foresight in all our pursuits. Daily and long-term.
  

Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:12

“I, wisdom, live with prudence, and I attain knowledge and discretion.”

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Friday, November 24, 2017

Paid: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



                       PAID


                        Debtors—yes

                        but no longer tied to

                        basic hungers

                        false pursuits

                        furtive longings.


                        Debt fully paid.


                        Now a longing to prove

                        new beginnings

                        compassion and mercy now

                        clear water flowing

                        into all desires

                        imprint of holy

                        gift unequaled

                        given by grace.



                        Debtors—always.
 
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