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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.”

Friday, March 17, 2017

Lightning: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



            Lightning


            Recognize the power

            of the storm

            lightning piercing

            through dark skies

            ground shaking turmoil.


            Realize power

            of Spirit’s prayer

            loosening sin shackles

            timeless fire

            guarding alter of grace.


            

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Reflection: Censer: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Does knowing that God will purify your prayers encourage you to pray more boldly? Why? Why not?

2.     What impossible prayers have you held back on thinking they are beyond possibility for you?

3.     How will you pray this week in the light of purified prayers? What flashes of lightning do you most need right now?

4.     Will this change your witness in any way? How?


Share: Where have you seen God’s power intervene through prayer most recently?


Monday, March 13, 2017

Censer: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Revelation 8:5

“Then the angel took the censer and filled it with fire from the altar and threw it on the earth; and there were peals of thunder, rumblings, flashes of lightening, and an earthquake.”

Eugene H. Peterson borrows the phrase “Reversed Thunder” from the poet George Herbert. “Prayer reenters history with incalculable effects. Our earth is shaken daily by it.”

From the very beginning of His public ministry Jesus walked in prayer.

He quoted from scripture; He prayed for immediate needs before Him; He spent long quiet early mornings wrestling in solitude.

We are cocooned by our limited perception of our lives yet under Jesus’ authority our eyes and ears can be opened to possibilities under His power and His purpose.

When we are willing to listen and trust and follow.

“Prayer is as much outer as inner. It is the most practical thing anyone can do. It is not mystical escape, it is historical engagement. Prayer participates in God’s actions. God gathers our cries and our praises, our petitions and intercessions, and uses them.” Eugene H. Peterson

And we are included—invited to participate. Astonishing!

Lord, please keep our hearts listening and humbled to act upon your gift of prayer.  May we stay open to the prompts of your Holy Spirit and respond in faith, especially when we will never see the results.

“Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Matthew 6:10


Psalm of Worship: Isaiah 55:4

“See, I made him a witness to the peoples, a
leader and commander for the peoples.”


Friday, March 10, 2017

Mingled: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



            Mingled
           

            Mingled prayers

            with holy incense

            purified by grace

            compassion

            merge together

            wind swept clean

            purpose sanctified


            clarified.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Reflection: Silence: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry


Reflection Questions


1.     What comfort does it give you to know that you can come to prayer upset and angry alongside with penitent and grateful?

2.     Are you willing to let God change any of your prayers into His purpose when the outcome may not be what you hoped for?

3.     In what ways does His mercy affect the consequences you may deserve from another’s prayers towards you?


Share: What seemingly impossible prayer have you seen answered?


Monday, March 6, 2017

Silence: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Revelation 8: 1-4

“Another angel with a golden censer came and stood at the altar; he was given a great quantity of incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar that is before the throne. And the smoke of the incense, with the prayers of the saints, rose before God from the hand of the angel.”

First silence in heaven—holy awe. Then astonishment for us.

Our ragged, jagged, selfish, consumed, grief stricken, angry, penitent, robotic, hopeless, prideful, generic, confused, desperate prayers are accepted from each heart.  Acknowledged—Affirmed.

Then purified by grace.

Holy grace. Holy heart.

Taking our sin filled gasps and mingling them with sanctification.

Holy voice. Holy purpose.

Transforming them into possibilities.

Our bent, broken, hearts and lives and worries and battles, are acknowledged, taken seriously, and purified from false motives and faulty consequences.

To be answered in love’s authority.


Psalm of Worship: Isaiah 55: 3

“Incline your ear, and come to me, listen, so that you may live.
I will make with you an everlasting covenant,
my steadfast, sure love for David.”


Friday, March 3, 2017

Lukewarm: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



            Lukewarm

           
            Lukewarm

            too tired or too content

            in cushioned fog

            unable to care to commit,

            stagnant.


            Listen! The Lord calls

            to each of us—live

            in His Spirit—His power

            undertake compassion’s

            strength.


            

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Reflection: Laodicea: Word Ambassadors: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Is there a part of your life where you feel lukewarm right now?

2.     Do you know why? Or do you want to know why?

3.     What is the salve you need to be anointed with in order to see clearly both the situation and your decisions?


Share: How have you listened for the Lord’s counsel before when lukewarm?



 
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