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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.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Reflection: Charge: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



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Reflection Questions


1.     Do we as a “people” tend to regard each other as a delight, or instead silently bring charges against one another?

2.     How do you regard or interpret God’s elect?

3.     When do we need to bring charges?

4.     And then in what manner do we bring them?


Share: In what way do you think God justifies us when we turn to Him?


Monday, April 16, 2018

Charge: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


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Reading: Romans 8:33

“Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.”

How often do we cringe when someone else is chastised?

Or quietly be relieved that we are not the recipient? Maybe sometimes too smugly?

Too often our reaction is to immediately assume guilt when in fact we don’t know the whole story. Too often. 

Even in our worship communities. Where we believe the Lord has forgiven us our sins. And is creating within us a new life—new beginnings—new perspective.

Yet we almost instinctively cast judgement on ourselves, and others, when complaints or concerns arise. Blame first. Then maybe forgiveness of a surface posture that doesn’t quite quiet the doubts.

“If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. Let us not become boastful, challenging, one another, envying one another.”  Galatians 5: 25-26

When we walk in faith we can trust that the Lord will discern the errors we make in a way that reveals truth and hope and true justification. He will complete the work He began in each of us—when we are willing to dig below the surface and ask for His discernment to reveal our sins and accept His methods of accountability. His way.

Thank you Lord, for protecting us from false charges when they arise, and from despair when we do fail. Please keep our hearts clean. To redeem.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:32

“And now, my children, listen to me: happy are those who keep my ways.”


Friday, April 13, 2018

Relationship: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



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                       Relationship


                        Life given in sacrifice

                        still continues

                        ready to supply all needs

                        looking eagerly every morning

                        seeking fellowship

                        relationship

                        love poured out as

                        steadfast inheritance

                        redeeming past—present—future

                        listening to heart prayers.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Reflection: Steadfast: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection Questions


1.     How hard is it for you to accept a gift that is beyond expectations and impossible to “pay back”?

2.     Can you imagine working alongside the Lord all day in your job right now?

3.     What would that look like? What changes would you make if you saw yourself as the Lord’s coworker?


Share: What would you want to ask Him?



Monday, April 9, 2018

Steadfast: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


Reading: Romans 8:32

“He who did not withhold his own Son, but gave him up for all of us, will he not with him also give us everything else?”

Do we really absorb the full meaning of this gift that does not have an expiration date?

Are we truly ready to live into the possibilities? To accept all the potential consequences?

Do we recognize the invitation?

Once, in creation’s beginnings, Adam and Eve walked in a wholesome relationship with each other and with God. He had created the animals but then brought them to Adam to name. Mutually involved together in life’s creations—ongoing growth until deceit and sin tore them away from God’s life giving intent.

Now Jesus offers us His ongoing fellowship. At great cost. Now the opportunity to walk daily with Him in all our relationships, in all our responsibilities, in His way. To be mutually included in His ministry of reconciliation. Also with an ongoing cost.

Do we really want to accept His generous gift that cannot be repaid?

Are we truly ready to fully commit to follow wherever He leads?

Do we recognize His personal invitation to each of us forever.

Lord, please give us discernment to daily walk with You in steadfast trust, and rejoice in Your Presence.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:31

“Rejoicing in his inhabited world and delighting in the human race.”


Friday, April 6, 2018

Assurance: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


                       Assurance

                       
                        Assurance caresses the child

                        strong arms holding

                        when tears flood.


                        Comfort from a friend

                        slipping a hand to

grasp during despair.


A circle of community

surrounding in prayer

consoling weakened heart.


Carrying all through all He

stands ever present


always for  us.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Reflection: Protection: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


Reflection Questions


1.     Do you personally really understand and believe this promise?

2.     How then can we react/respond when it seems as if we are under attack, whether from ourselves, in a sense of failure, or from others harassing us?

3.     Can you visualize a protection barrier surrounding you? What might it look like?

4.     Write up a prayer of protection for yourself and your family, based on this verse, and pray it at every moment of conflict throughout the week ahead.


Share: Was there any one specific word that sustained you?


Monday, April 2, 2018

Protection: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Protection: Listen: Prayers and Poetry

Reading: Romans 8:31

“What then are we to say about these things? If God is for us, who is against us?”

No one can stand against us when we are in the Lord. Not even ourselves.

So how do we live into this promise when crisis hits? Or fears dissolve us. Or our selfishness resists any changes other than by our own will.

In trust.

“Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son.”  1 John 5:10

In His word. In His life. In His death. In His resurrection. A living testimony.

Given to us as well. Written into our hearts as a lifeline. An ongoing heartbeat of trust that can sustain us beyond the capacity of our physical hearts pumping moment by moment breathes throughout our bodies.

So we can live with open hands and open faith in all circumstances.

Not even seasons of grief can separate us. He carries us. Always.

Thank you, Lord, that our lives are within Your boundaries and that nothing can transgress Your commands.


Psalm of Worship: Proverbs 8:30


“Then I was beside him, like a master worker; and I was daily his delight rejoicing before him always.”
 
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