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Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Reflection: Intercedes: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


Reflection Questions


1.     How deep do your prayers go?

2.     Have you sought the Spirit’s help recently? Why? Why not?

3.     Does knowing the Spirit covers us bring a sense of assurance or a sense of discomfort?


Share: Where do you need prayer today?



Monday, February 26, 2018

Intercedes: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Romans 8:26

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness; for we do not know how to pray as we ought, but that very Spirit intercedes with sighs too deep for words.”

Do you ever feel stuck when praying? Rote prayers or help! prayers or vague prayers sometimes become our lifeline when we find ourselves praying from places of emptiness instead of fullness.

God already knows what’s in our hearts. Even when we don’t. Instead of trying to push through the confusion and fog on our own we are offered the Spirit’s insight and clarity.

Harry Emerson Fosdick says that when we habitually put ourselves in an attitude of willingness to do whatever God wills and to work His will in and through us we are in true prayer.

Even in our weakness.

“It was while waiting in prayer that He received the gift of the Holy Spirit, He dared not begin His public mission without that anointing.” S. D. Gordon

When we begin as Jesus did, with a clear sense of His promises as guided by the Spirit, our prayers can take on clearer, deeper depths. In His strength and wisdom.

Thank you, Lord, for Your Spirit to take us deeper. Guide us to align our prayers with Your purpose and Your heart of reconciliation.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:25

“Before the mountains had been shaped, before the hills, I was brought forth—“


Friday, February 23, 2018

Waiting: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


                       Waiting

                       
                        Does waiting come

                        with tap dancing

                        precision

                        caught up in rhythm

                        attuned to

                        musical beats

                        expectant pleasure.


                        Or a foot stomping

                        tantrum kicking

                        dirt

                        swirling doubts

                        scratching the word’s

                        raspy notes

                        creating static.


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Reflection: Patience: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     Even when you are sure of an outcome how do you wait? Anxious? Patient or impatient? In trust?

2.     We tend to think in concrete, tangible terms. What kind of intangible hope do you think God has waiting for us besides eternity?

3.     Where might the fruits of the Spirit apply? Galatians 5:22-23


Share: Which one do you most hope for in the near future? For which are you prepared to wait a long time if necessary?


Monday, February 19, 2018

Patience: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Romans 8:25

“But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it with patience.”

Too often I cannot wait with patience. Too often I have not grown past the demands of a toddler when I wait with an attitude of fretfulness, or an insistence of now.

To hope is to trust completely.

The Lord has promised us that we will be made in His image. Often we have a long way to go. Sometimes it is good that we don’t see the road ahead, especially if we have a tendency to turn our version of disappointments into complaint. Or an attempt to manipulate our perceived outcome.

To hope is to trust that the Lord’s dreams and imagination He begins in us will become a reality—in His time and not ours. Will be authentic by the Spirit’s counsel and not a cardboard copy of our false imitations.

Thank you, Lord, for the seeds You sow in us to prepare us for the journey. Show us how to wait in Your peace with trusting patience.

To still hope regardless.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:24

“When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no springs abounding with water.”



Friday, February 16, 2018

Illumine: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


                       
                       Illumine


                        Light and darkness

                        illumine our days

                        yet we cannot touch them,

                        no hands can grasp

                        a rainbow

                        perhaps a star if

                        it fell at our feet.


                        Northern lights dance

                        waves billow

                        none can be held

                        like hope tangible and

                        illusive—yet

                        very present


                        though unseen.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Reflection: Hope: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


Reflection Questions


1.     Make a list of all the things you hope for in your life.

2.     Where do you ‘see’ God’s hope in each of them?

3.     How easily do you think we replace God’s hope for our man-made version?

4.     What makes a sense of proof so important to us in today’s culture?


Share: When has the Lord revealed a hope to you that you had not seen?


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Tuesday, February 13, 2018

A Lenten Retreat Preview "Book of Lamentations"

A Lenten Journal Excerpt Day One


Day One


Scripture Reading: Lamentations 1:1-2


Personal Reflection


                                        Desolate


Darkened night
desolate streets
not the rest of dreams
nor of peace.

Rather despair spreading
rustling through
bondage packaged
built in reckless.

Abandon over years
a self-designed
city once puffed with pride
crumbles under foundation.

Weeps bitter tears
without hope.
Onlookers scoff
or mourn
lost heritage
lost legacy.
                                                                       

Writing Prompt

       1. In what ways do you identify with this city’s lament? Do you have areas in your life that have changed or been lost?
       2. Have you experienced an enormous loss or a betrayal of a friend?
       3. How are you expressing your disappointment to God? To others?
4     4.  How else has your relationship with the Lord been affected?

Psalm of Worship
“Do not fret because of the wicked; do not be envious of wrongdoers,” Psalm 37:1

Today’s Thought

Monday, February 12, 2018

Hope: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Romans 8:24

“For in hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what is seen?”

How often do we get that mixed up? We dream big, we set up goals, we work hard, we measure and reset, we reach concrete markers, and we cross the finish line. All good.

Except when we fail. Then dreams are crushed and disappointment grips our hearts. We quit. Because we have put all our hope in our human efforts and when we can’t produce we give up. We get caught up in tangible measure only and forget the unseen promises.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”

Towards the unexpected—in trust—with courage—towards the hope that never quits holding on to each of us. His creation in His time by His hand and for His purpose.

Lord, thank you for Your ever present reminders of hope in love and prayers and rainbows. Please give us sight to see You and keep living towards Your grace.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:23

“Ages ago I was set up, at the first, before the beginning of the earth.”

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

A Lenten Retreat Preview “Book of Lamentations”

Introduction Excerpt

The season of Lent has often been seen as a spiritual preparation for Christians to prepare our hearts for Easter’s sacrificial gift of grace. Sometimes we may choose a daily reminder, such as giving up a favorite treat or activity, to help acknowledge our commitment to focus on this spiritual journey. Or we might choose to set aside a special reflection time to go deeper into relationship through prayer and Scripture.

The forty days of Lent are considered a time of sorrow and grief that remembers Jesus was crucified to give us God’s gift of grace. Through Lent’s loss we begin to recognize the shadows and barriers we have set around God’s promises and reopen His call to pursue life under His influence.

Lament goes beyond our very heartsick trials to consider our even deepest sorrows, including those we may have hidden from ourselves.  A lament is considered a passionate expression of grief that we often instinctively neutralize because the pain is too hard to bear.

The “Book of Lamentations” expresses one of Israel’s worst seasons of history where death, decay, disease, and disillusion completely separated them from God’s presence individually and as a chosen nation. It is a brutal and unrelenting scripture. Yet before healing could be accepted, or God’s grace understood, the darkness needed to be brought into God’s piercing light. Like a surgeon’s skillful knife removing an unseen cancer before the spreading poison completely corrupts.

This reflective devotional journal is a mini-retreat to help become restored. By taking a few moments a day to pause as listeners we are invited to connect our spiritual hunger with the loving call God has given. We can recalibrate why Lent can bring a new beginnings into our lives even in the midst of extreme brokenness.

                                                     Blessings, Marcy



Friday, February 9, 2018

Fruit: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


                       Fruit


                        A glimpse here and there

                        of Spirit’s fruit shining

                        light sprinkles into our

                        darkened hearts showing a

                        new way of life.

                       
                        A purity both strong and fragile

                        hunger for fulfillment

                        groan at long road ahead

                        seeming so distant yet


                        must not let go.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Reflection: Groan: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


Reflection Questions


1.     Do you see glimpses of God’s fruit of work in you? In others? How?

2.     Does it draw you closer, or do you retreat to the mundane because His fruit seems so out of reach?

3.     What first fruits would you like to live by right now?

4.     Do you find longing and waiting to be the same or different?  How? What actions would each require according to this verse?


Share: What fruit has another shared with you when you needed it?




Monday, February 5, 2018

Groan: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Romans 8:23

“And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies.”

Have you ever received an assignment, when in school or at work, that your immediate reaction is to groan? Or perhaps a communal groan when a project or outcome has been derailed? It’s hard to rebuild a bridge that requires us to pick up the pieces and start again. Especially with a heart of commitment and drive. Not certain whether our efforts will be obstructed again.

The hunger for resolution and completion stretches beyond words when struggling with relationships or vague possibilities waiting for medical results or life transitions. It’s hard to wait, hard to see, and sometimes easier to bury ourselves in the mundane to decrease anxiety.

Yet when we are able to wait and watch in trust we are given the gift of glimpses.

When we catch the glimpses of the Lord in others, and in ourselves, we are reminded that there will be an answer to our delays. There will be fruits by the Spirit’s authority and purpose, even if we cannot see ahead.

The promise now infuses our hunger with hope, anticipation, and a peace that we often cannot verbalize or explain. And we too can watch for redemption in faith.

Lord, enable us to hold onto Your glimpses of glory when our hearts begin to groan and weaken. Strengthen us by Your light piercing into our darkness. Enable us to keep walking while we wait.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:22

“The Lord created me at the beginning of his work, the first of his acts of long ago.”


Friday, February 2, 2018

Life: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



                       Life


                        Growing labor pains

                        reaching for relief

                        birth of new beginnings

                        life fresh from God.


                        Prayers over lost years

                        refusing to give up hope

                        bound by love’s covenant


                        lost will be found.
 
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