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Friday, May 25, 2018

Conquers: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



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                       Conquers


                        Conviction pounds a

                        cornerstone into place

                        begins to build regardless of

                        belittling words

                        flung over and over stirring

                        fears and fumbled replies.


                        Like Noah’s ark spanning

                        long days—years—timeless

                        expectation across centuries

                        Emmanuel conquers.

                       

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Reflection: Conviction: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     How do you define conviction?

2.     Can it be separated from action? How or why not?

3.     Do you believe this verse with complete conviction? Why? Why not?

4.     How would you interpret it to a confused believer?


Share: What promise are you waiting on as a cornerstone?


Monday, May 21, 2018

Conviction: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


Reading: Romans 8:38

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers.”

Heart and soul convinced. We have experienced His saving grace multiple times. We have seen others brought to life from a season of ashes. We are now convinced.

And yet how often do we still stumble and wonder if this time we will be able to walk the path before us. Worry—exhaustion—fears again challenge our actions.

How can we merge our beliefs and our doubts into trust?

And stay the course without faltering?

His Word again is our conviction. Jesus walked the path before us to prove His conquering power. He is our steadfast cornerstone that does not crumble. And He holds each one of us through all the struggles we endure. Both in life and in death.

Anchoring our tears in His ongoing Presence.

Lord, please give us Your courage and strength when we face a battle and doubts attempt to undermine Your power.


Psalm of Worship: Isaiah 55:11

“So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Friday, May 18, 2018

Foundation: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



                        Foundation


                        As more than conquerors

                        brings a heart to safety

                        gives peace that digs

                        deep into our souls

                        as a guarantee

                        for next skirmish

                        that comes.


                        A relief not to trust

                        in ourselves but rely

in His power

                        as our strong foundation

                        regardless of shaking ground

                        challenging us to doubt

                        we remember He hears.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Reflection: More Than: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Do you see yourself as a conqueror or a victim?

2.     How far do you struggle on your own stamina before seeking Christ’s help?

3.     What is the difference between boldness in Christ or success at victory?

4.     How does Jesus enable us to be “more than” conquerors in Him? What is the extra?


Share: In what way do you need to be bold this week?


Monday, May 14, 2018

More Than: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


Reading: Romans 8:37

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”

Have your circumstance ever so overwhelmed that you became a passive bystander frozen in exhaustion?

Or struggled over and over and see no release and finally give up trying? Both in heart and in action.

Hear His promise. More than conquerors. More is possible. Even when we can’t even see a victory.

Or even in seeming defeat. Our lukewarm hearts keep us focused on the loss or impossibilities instead of on His steadfast love.

Hope in His purpose—His vision—His sometimes invisible plan—is the strong foundation we are promised to be able to become “more than.” Not to surrender to our weaknesses but to acknowledge them and deliberately choose to rely on Jesus’ power. He will carry us through when we trust. Even in a surface defeat. His salvation over rides all battles.

Lord, please guide us from being a victim or passive bystander, to conquer in Your love and Your Spirit’s power.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:36

“But those who miss me injure themselves; all who hate me love death.”

Friday, May 11, 2018

Counted: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



                       Counted


                        Self-centered or self-slaughtered

                        which path gives sheep

                        safety under the Shepherd’s hand.


                        To wander off or stay close

                        a stubborn decision each day

                        trusting in His field of choice.


                        Whether in famine or fruitfulness

                        counted as precious lambs

                        worthy of His sacrifice.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Reflection: Choice: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     For whose life purpose do you feel you step into each day?

2.     Is it to face a battle, or a challenge, or survival? For whom?

3.     How willing are we as Christians to be a “sheep for slaughter”? How willing are you to have your life destroyed to follow Him?

4.     In what way could you perceive being killed for His sake a positive blessing?

Share: What loss have you experienced that turned into a blessing?

Monday, May 7, 2018

Choice: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


Reading: Romans 8: 36

“As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all day long; we are accounted as sheep to be slaughtered.’”

Since nothing can separate us from the Lord, are we then willing to be used in any way possible that others too may know Him? To be slaughtered? Not a word or action we normally chose to embrace. But a reminder perhaps that each life costs dearly—first in physical birth, then in life daily, and finally into eternity.

Sin and suffering are common ground for everyone.

What might be the extra cost to choose to follow Jesus’ way? Freely chosen.

What false baggage might we learn to discard in order to live with authenticity from the inside out? Winnowed into a more truthful disciple ready to serve wherever called?

Choosing to live our faith openly in truth and trust with hope and integrity can mark us as a target. To challenge—to ridicule—to attack. But also as witnesses to His salvation.

Counted among His sheep. Cared for by His love. Committed to His will. Life.

“And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”  1 John 5:14

Lord, please give us the boldness to willingly be used by You each day for Your purpose, regardless of the circumstances.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:35

“For whoever finds me finds life and obtains favor from the Lord.”


Friday, May 4, 2018

Separate: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



                       Separate

                       
                        Nothing

                        nothing

                        can separate us from

                        Christ’s love

                        so why do we tremble so,

                        shivering in doubt,

                        allow fear a residence

                        and distress to shake us

                        can you hear His heart

                        call ever beating

                        nothing

                        nothing

                        can separate us from

                        Christ’s care.



Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Reflection: Nothing: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     When hardship or distress comes do you find yourself drifting from God’s presence or clinging closer?

2.     What doubts do you find creeping in?

3.     What faith promises do you find gives you His strength?

4.     If nothing can separate us from Christ, what keeps us from believing and trusting in all circumstances?


Share: What word has given you hope most recently?




Monday, April 30, 2018

Nothing: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


Reading: Romans 8:35

“Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?”

Nothing will. No one can. Not ever. Not even ourselves.

Though all of these things bring dread and distress they cannot break the bonds Christ has given us. His Presence in all circumstances. His ongoing mercy, grace, and forgiveness. His sacrifice.

He doesn’t let go of us but too often the circumstances so overwhelm us we forget. We turn our sight away from trust and faith and allow fear to weaken us even deeper than the trial we face. Because we think we have been abandoned, or forgotten, or maybe being punished.

Yet that is when He holds us even closer—even if He is silent.

His mercy carries us through any form of death or loss. Into new beginnings. Into new life. And when the time comes—into eternity.

Lord, thank you that nothing can separate You from us or us from You. Please do not let us ever forget this promise.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:34

“Happy is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.”

Friday, April 27, 2018

Boundaries: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



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                       Boundaries


                        Like squalling over tired

                        infants we resist authority

                        provision, instead lash out at

                        loving arms’ firm boundaries.


                        Condemnation on sin

                        non-negotiable, battle won

                        still searches for those missing.


                        Cared for by intercession.

                        We see only through penalty.

                        He sees only through love.

                       

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Reflection: Authority: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



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Reflection Questions


1.     How easily do you give or accept forgiveness?

2.     Is there a difference between resolving condemnation for ourselves, for others, or from God? Why?

3.     Jesus interceded for us when still under condemnation. How can that affect our prayers for those around us?

4.     Consequences still remain. How can Jesus’ intercession sustain us through them?


Share: Which of these thoughts are the most encouraging for you this week?



Monday, April 23, 2018

Authority: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


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Reading: Romans 8:34

“Who is to condemn? It is Christ Jesus, who died, yes, who was raised, who is at the right hand of God, who indeed intercedes for us.”

We see condemnation through the eyes of penalty.

God sees it through the grace and redemption that Jesus paid on the Cross.

Even in our ongoing sin Jesus continues to pray for us. He stays with us side-by-side with His abundant mercy interceding, calling us to accept His boundaries. He continues to stay beside us through our failures and consequences until we are whole.

He takes our cold hearts and teaches us to lift up ourselves and others into His prayers for each of us. Because only He can truly see what to condemn and what to redeem.

He alone knows who we are meant to be and how we are to be made whole.

Will we accept His compassionate authority?

“We are invited to believe until the whole gospel of Christ is fully formed in us. The secret of a holy life is not in imitating Jesus, but in letting the perfection of Jesus be manifested in our mortal flesh.” Oswald Chambers

Lord, please give us the wisdom to receive Your condemnation and intercession by Your mercy.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:33

“Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it.”

Friday, April 20, 2018

Justify: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



                       Justify

                       
                        We may not use a gavel

                        or even words to

                        disapprove

                        sighs, scowls,

                        rigid posture shout

                        our disapproval.


                        Speeds like gossip

                        gathers bitterness

                        until a mountain

                        of charges form.


                        Forget not ours to

                        judge or condemn

                        ourselves or others

                        God alone justifies

                        from cross of sin to

                        redeem.

 
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