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Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Reflection: Restrain: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     What do you consider to be the most important work in your life?

2.     How do you define your heart’s work?

3.     What kind of reward do you expect from the Lord?

4.     Are you willing to persevere without seeing the end result? Why or why not?



Monday, September 17, 2018

Restrain: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry


Jeremiah 31: 16, “Thus says the Lord, ‘Restrain your voice from weeping, And your eyes from tears; For your work shall be rewarded,’ declares the Lord, ‘And they shall return from the land of the enemy.’”

Shall be rewarded.

Have you ever felt like you are working in a fog, not sure of the reason or the purpose?

When we are uncertain of our direction we can also wonder if we are following the Lord’s plan, or path, or purpose for us. Apathy, indecision, fatigue, and grief sometimes intrude and wear us down even more.

Yet if the Lord has given us a task, a goal, a dream, He will not abandon us. “For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:6 (NAS)

When we stray.            

He will bring us back. He will enable us to continue. In His work—in His way.

Lord, please guide our hearts to define our work as led by Your Spirit’s guidance. Then keep us faithful regardless of the obstacles.

Your thoughts,


Friday, September 14, 2018

Bitter Weeping: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry


Bitter Weeping


Bitter weeping

lament poured out

must recognize

crashing loss

bear the pain

let heartache shout

melt to prepare

comfort’s restoration

begin to mend

light hope’s candle

move toward faith

continuous journey

bitter weeping

linked in love

marking ongoing cost through

Christ’s mercy.


Romans 8:15, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’”

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Reflection: Sorrow: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection:

1.     For whom are you weeping? Why do you not have comfort?

2.     In what ways are personal fears blocking you from trusting in God’s hope?

3.     How has the Lord carried you through deep sorrow before? Can you return to that place of comfort?


Monday, September 10, 2018

Sorrow: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry


Jeremiah 31:15, “Thus says the Lord, ‘A voice is heard in Ramah, Lamentation and bitter weeping. Rachel is weeping for her children; She refuses to be comforted for her children; Because they are no more.’”

A voice is heard.

Jesus wept over Lazarus. He wept in sorrow over Jerusalem. He wept in the Garden of Gethesmane. Even in the hope He prepared for.

Lamentation. Loss. Need to be acknowledged, including the bitterness, in order to mourn in faith. To shout and scream and cry and stagger at death and disease and brokenness. Not bury.

“A time to weep and a time to laugh; A time to mourn and a time to dance. A time to throw stones and a time to gather stones; A time to embrace and a time to shun embracing.” Ecclesiastes 3:4-5 (NASB)

If we cannot weep out our grief we open the door to anger and deceit and condemnation and unforgiveness that causes even more destruction.

Lord, please show us how to mourn in prayer and trust. Show us how to hope through the sorrow of our weeping into Your healing grace.

Your thoughts,


Friday, September 7, 2018

Shall Be Satisfied: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry



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                                   Shall Be Satisfied

                                   
                                    Satisfied

                                    with His goodness

                                    soul truth

                                    not an imitation

                                    seen through our

                                    limited perception or

                                    self-interest but

                                    grounded in His

                                    reality of wholeness

                                    peace beyond measure

                                    possibilities beyond

                                    comprehension.

                                    Sustained truth.


Romans 8:14, “For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.”

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Reflection: Goodness: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection:

1.     What is your definition of satisfaction? What does it look like, or feel like, for you personally?

2.     Do you ever struggle with a worry that whatever you do is not satisfying to the Lord?

3.     By what means do you measure either way?

4.     Where have you experienced God’s goodness this week?

5.     How did your outlook change?



Monday, September 3, 2018

Goodness: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry


Jeremiah 31:14, “’And I will fill the soul of the priests with abundance, And My people shall be satisfied with My goodness,’ declares the Lord.”

Shall be satisfied.

We are not in a culture that is easily satisfied. “That’s not good enough” is a common complaint. How often does our interpretation of goodness limit our version of the Lord’s goodness?

Even when we believe and know His presence we too often battle with fretfulness and worry.

When Job struggled with all his losses his questions and arguments became his daily focus. But when he recognized God’s actual presence with him all those concerns dissolved. They were no longer relevant. They just didn’t matter any more. 

Only when we can allow our hearts and soul to be cleansed from our limited expectations can we be open to receive His true goodness wholly. Not by our definition of it but by His loving reality.

Lord, please show each of us how we may become satisfied with Your goodness in all situations.

Your thoughts,

Friday, August 31, 2018

Shall Rejoice: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry



Shall Rejoice


                                    Shall rejoice

                                    even when tears

                                    overflow as past

                                    and present

                                    separate

                                    choosing to let go

                                    false plans

                                    deadly roads

                                    grateful for rescue

                                    a true perspective

                                    opening dance of life

                                    again a gift

                                    even when tears flow we

                                    shall rejoice.
                       

Romans 8:13, “For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Reflection: Dance: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection:

1.     In what ways have you experienced a loss that turned out to be a blessing?

2.     What enabled you to get through the storm if you were blinded by it?

3.     How did you recognize God’s grace?

4.     Too often well meaning words can create more separation. What do you now avoid saying to others in a season of mourning.

5.     How can you share with others to give them courage in loss with compassion and understanding?


Monday, August 27, 2018

Dance: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry


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Jeremiah 31:13, “Then the virgin shall rejoice in the dance, And the young men and the old, together, For I will turn their mourning into joy, And will comfort them, and give them joy for their sorrow.”

Shall rejoice.

There are so many seasons when we wonder if the pain, the loss, and the tears will ever end. Sometimes the grief and loss wrap us up in its shroud so tightly that even when new seeds of hope begin to sprout we are unable step forward. Or recognize a new path.

Shall dance?

Not even on our radar. Our perspective has become so darkened that all our strength is sapped and there is no energy left to perceive the comfort that will renew our steps.

Mourning into joy.

In His strength and perspective the Lord will gently guide us through all the sorrow to a place of joy and expectancy once again. Not in our ability to move forward but in His. Only He can enable us to discern where we have substituted false purposes in order to survive loss instead of leaning into His redemptive healing and love.

Will comfort them.

Lord, please help us to recognize, accept, let go of sorrow, and agree to die to all that has ended when it is time for new beginnings. And then step forward in faith and dance, when it is time to leave the mourning season behind.

Your thoughts,

Friday, August 24, 2018

Shout Joy: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry



                                   Shout Joy


                                    Shall come

                                    shall shout

                                    shall be radiant

                                    bounty of life

                                    begins new every morning

                                    will we accept gift

                                    with humility and thanksgiving

                                    or allow fears and loss to

                                    overtake hope

                                    discouragement erodes

                                    daily encouragement

                                    new life breathes

                                    nurtured by being

                                    alive

                                    again every morning.


Romans 8:12, “So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh--

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Reflection: Shall Come: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection:


1.     In what ways do we sometimes take our provisions for granted?

2.     How do we tend to react when they are reduced or lost completely?

3.     In what ways does diminishment of any kind also affect our trust in God’s provision?

4.     How have you experienced peace and joy after a season of trial?






Monday, August 20, 2018

Shall Come: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry


Jeremiah 31: 12, “And they shall come and shout for joy on the height of Zion, And they shall be radiant over the bounty of the Lord—Over the grain, and the new wine, and the oil, And over the young of the flock and the herd; And their life shall be like a watered garden, And they shall never languish again.”

Shall come. With joy.

Too often we immediately focus only on losses with a sense of defeat and complaint, and forget to recognize that the Lord never abandons.

He gives ongoing provision in all circumstances and offers us each hope to hold on in trust in times of emptiness. His bounty of presence will carry us through both the drought and the abundance.

May we each hunger for spiritual fellowship and overflowing bounty and realize that in Your Spirit our hearts will never languish again.

Shall we come into each day with gratitude?


Your thoughts,


Friday, August 17, 2018

Ransomed: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry



                                   Ransomed


                                    Has ransomed

                                    paid a price

                                    purchase nonrefundable

                                    released from

                                    captivity’s prison

                                    cut away from all bondage.


                                    Hope restored

                                    new beginnings

                                    nature sings

                                    restoration begins

                                    surrounded by grace

                                    sustained daily.


Romans 8:11, “But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who indwells you.”


Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Reflection: Paid: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection:

1.     What is the most costly gift you have given or been given? Whether financial or not.

2.     Did it come with any implications of payback or bribery? Or did you feel like you were obligated in someway?

3.     Or, if not, how did the surprise and joy affect you as either the recipient or the giver?

4.     How did it change you?


 
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