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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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Monday, October 16, 2017

Submission: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Romans 8:7

“For this reason the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God; it does not submit to God’s law—indeed it cannot.”

Several musicians have used the phrase “puppet on a string” in their songs to express their helplessness to resist the love that entangles them whether for good or not.

We often can have an instinctive reaction to any other form of submission too, especially if we have experienced any cruelty emotionally or physically. The human drive for self power instills a caution to protect ourselves from any hint of perceived servility.

So even when gifts of love and grace and hope and new beginnings are expressed we hesitate. What will it cost us? Are there any hidden motives? What are the risks? Why do I have to give up part of myself? We want to stay in control or think we are in control. Even though we are often not, but don’t recognize the influence our inner cravings and threats already have over us.

We cannot break the cords on our own. But we can choose who will control them.

Submission is not the enemy when given to the Spirit’s knowledge and strength and protective love. Then our minds and hearts are sustained by truth even in the darkest moments of our lives. When we are weak, He is strong for us.

We are never left alone. If we wander away we are found. Always. With healing.

Lord, please give us Your boldness to submit to Your law in trust and thankfulness for Your sacrifice.



Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:6


“Hear, for I will speak noble things, and from my lips will come what is right.”

Friday, October 13, 2017

Choose: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

                    

                      Choose
                       

                        We think it is impulse

                        we cannot control

                        turning our will

                        weakened again into

                        wasteful desires

                        flesh is weak

                        famishes our resolve.


                        Not the culprit.


                        Need to challenge our

                        minds to choose Spirit

                        message first

                        soak in truth

                        stand on heart’s promise

                        to abide and strengthen

                        trust—hope—prudence.


                        We are gifted by grace

                        we can choose.

                       







Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Reflection: Prudence: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


Reflection Questions


1.     What areas of your life need ongoing prudence?

2.     What steps have you taken before to overcome and failed?

3.     What tries to fuel your guilt so you will give up trying?

4.     How do you think that setting your mind on the Spirit could help?

5.     Choose a brief prayer to use every time this challenge comes before you.


Share: What is the key word in your prayer?




Monday, October 9, 2017

Prudence: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Romans 8: 6

“To set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”


Have you ever been startled by a rash reaction you give without even thinking about it or planning to go in that direction? Maybe you had even been prepared to do the opposite thing but words or actions fly out of you like a rocket out of control.

How often do we lean on our presumed understanding of circumstances and forget the emotional past history that hides dormant until triggered. Past hurts, past pain, past failures, past sin, can leap into current situations uninvited and unwelcomed.

And then we stand in shock at the consequences of destruction.

Learn prudence, the proverbs advise us. An old-fashioned word with current every day applications. When we can admit and acknowledge our weaknesses we can take a strong step towards overcoming them. By recalibrating our compass.

And reverse our perspective from external action control to internal obedience.

Letting the Holy Spirit become our foundation—be our advisor—become our mentor. So now we plan our life course—daily—weekly—under Scripture truth. The words that will not return void. Even if upended in a battle, we are now grounded in life, not death.

Learning to admit and acknowledge our weaknesses and sins brings them into God’s light for recognition and cleansing. Then we can truly overcome them His way, in His strength. True peace from the inside out is a choice given in love.


Lord, we ask to set our hearts and minds on Your Spirit and desire Your fruit in our lives.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8: 5

“O simple ones, learn prudence; acquire intelligence, you who lack it.”




Friday, October 6, 2017

Live: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



                       Live



                        Life peace

                        Love hope

                        Light faithfulness


                        Open-ended Spirit

                        gifts offered daily

                        when we choose

                        to follow His offering

                        strength to turn away

                        despair fear

                        decay neglect

                        darkness chains.


                        Mind, heart, soul

                        restored

                        walk new path in

                        Wonderment.


                       

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Reflection: Mindset: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


Reflection Questions


1.     Do your thoughts naturally go to negative or positive?

2.     When crisis looms is prayer your instinctive reaction? Why or why not?

3.     Where is prayer in your life when days are good?

4.     What thought patterns do you need to change this week?


Share: What scripture verse has given you hope in a crisis?



Monday, October 2, 2017

Mindset: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Romans 8:5

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit.”


We usually recognize when we go into automatic pilot mode for chores and meetings, for greeting strangers, or dealing with polite surface chitchat when in public settings. We all have built-in coping methods for impersonal situations. Over the years some of them become instinctive.

But how often do we recognize our inner coping modes within our hearts and thoughts on a normal day-to-day schedule. Instead we might notice that we are overtired or grumpy, craving sweets, feeling anxious over a minor comment or thought.

What pilot mode is our heart synchronized toward? What voice are we listening to throughout each day? What words keep us grounded?

Blessed by the Lord with His Spirit daily. Moment to moment mindset if we choose to listen to soft prompts and discernment. But too often we forget to pay attention until a crisis—a moral or spiritual battleground erupts and then we seek guidance.

We wonder why peace eludes us. Why we struggle so often over so many situations that weaken our daily lives.

But when we remember to set our minds on His Spirit, we have hope regardless of circumstances. Even in the midst of a day’s drudgery or a battleground. And extra joy with loved ones and pursuits. The wonder of life through His lens.

Lord, please set out minds on Your power and Your presence today.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:4

“To you O people, I call, and my cry is to all that live.”





 
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