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Friday, June 22, 2018

Everlasting: Grace in the Wilderness:Prayers and Poetry



Everlasting


            An everlasting love

            Beyond any measure

            Despite flaws

            Diligent in distress

            Patient in confusion

            Perseveres through confrontation

            Joys in opportunities

            Joins in labor

            Gently carries in weakness

            Gladly shares

            Bears all burdens

            An eternal love.
           

Romans 8:3, “For God has done what the law, weakened by the flesh, could not do: by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and to deal with sin, he condemned sin in the flesh.”


Wednesday, June 20, 2018

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



Reflection

1.     What does everlasting love look like to you?

2.     Have you ever experienced a taste of it? What surprised you?

3.     In what ways have you been able to give it to another? Or struggled to give?

4.     What are some reasons why we resist costly love?



Monday, June 18, 2018

Drawn: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry

Reading Jeremiah 31:3

“The Lord appeared to him from afar, saying, ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love; Therefore I have drawn you with lovingkindness.’”

An everlasting love. Something we can rarely experience or only partially understand. Sometimes parents can stay the course with their children but even they can have moments of withdrawal or worry.

Drawn. By an artist’s hand of creation. Not just line-by-line on paper with multiple shades of light and dark, but also an internally knitted design. Strengths and gifts ready for possibilities. With free will to accept or reject.

Only You, Lord, fully know who we each are in Your creation. Please give us a deeper vision to follow the lines You have formed within. Enable us to live in lovingkindness instead of power, competition, and greed.

Love that endures in Your grace. As a new creation.


Your Thoughts,




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Friday, June 15, 2018

Sword: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry



Sword


                        Survived the sword

                        of death and despair

                        surrendered to living word

                        two-edged sword piercing

                        soul from spirit

                        judging heart

                        shaped now by grace

                        freed from sin’s decay

                        sanctified by promise

                        hope replaces wilderness

                        Spirit of Life restores.


Romans 8:2, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.”



Wednesday, June 13, 2018

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



Reflection


1.     What swords have you faced recently?

2.     What was your instinctive response?

3.     Are you expecting grace in the aftermath? Why or why not?

4.     What would you recognize as rest? Or being freed?


Monday, June 11, 2018

Survived: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry


Reading Jeremiah 31:2

“Thus says the Lord, ‘The people who survived the sword found grace in the wilderness—Israel, when it went to find its rest.’”

Survived the sword. Do we expect, accept, the grace that comes with it?

Too often we let fear linger. Wonder when the next battle will come instead of being grateful for a space, pause, to restore and heal. Resist His rest.

When the fatigue of heart and soul and body continues to cling, then we realize we have not accepted the gift of grace. Or fully understand.

Thank you, Lord, that You stay with us in the battle and in the wilderness and in our rest. Please give us the discernment to recognize when we are called to stand in battle and when we are to let go completely, trusting in You only.


Your Thoughts,





Friday, June 8, 2018

Time: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry



Time


At that time

                                    that He appoints

                                    all the pieces

                                    will be gathered

                                    all fit together

                                    by His will and His power

                                    all His people

                                    will be reconciled.

                                    all truth recognized.

                                    that had been waiting

                                    At His word.


Romans 8:1. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Reflection: My People: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry



Reflection


1.     What has made you feel like an outsider?

2.     What has made you feel accepted?

3.     How have you been able to discern between surface acceptance and heart acceptance?

4.     In what ways are you available to accept His grace? Or not?


Monday, June 4, 2018

My People: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry


Reading Jeremiah 31:1

“‘At that time,’ declares the Lord, ‘I will be the God of all the families of Israel, and they shall be My people.’”

At that time. That’s one of the hard parts, Lord. Knowing what the right time is and when it is and is there any chance of missing it?

         And if we miss it how many chances do we have to get it back?

         Yet the work does not sound like it is of our doing, but by Your hand.

          So how do we watch and wait and be available?

Lord, please keep us listening and trusting and waiting in faith. Show us how to discern whether answers are confirmed by Your purpose or are false lures to keep us from obedience to Your time and Your purpose.

Your Thoughts,




Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry

Last week, as we finished our reflections on Listen in Romans 8, we ended with the reminder that listening can require not only a new perspective but boldness as well. “And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.” 1 John 5:14-15

Through this next contemplation, through Jeremiah 31, we will hear the Lord’s invitation to embrace boldness also when in captivity, whether physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. God encourages His people, then and now, to accept and believe in His grace regardless of circumstances. He promises to renew His covenant, to restore, to return, to rejoice—even within the sorrow and weeping and uncertainty of when relief will come. We are reminded to remember His timeless Grace regardless of our present wilderness. And His ongoing invitation to a personal relationship.


Mondays we will reflect on a Scripture passage. Wednesdays consider meditative questions. Fridays respond with poetry.

Thank you for sharing in our journey. Please share as you discover your own questions and insights, prose, and prayers.

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Boldness: Listen: Prayers and Poetry


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Reading: “And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we may know him who is true and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.” I John 5:20

Throughout this study Listen, of Romans chapter eight, we have paused to hear the Spirit’s powerful words that too often get buried under daily stress and noise. And consider seeing through a new perspective the challenges and gifts that enter our lives, so that we are trusting in His foundation. His ongoing word. 

No Condemnation!

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” Romans 8:1

“For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways, says the Lord.” Isaiah 55:8

So how then do we move forward and continue to Listen? Where might we start?

Richard Foster says that God is calling us into His heart, His home, and the key to this home—the heart of God—is prayer.

Foster introduces intercessory prayer as priestly ministry, and as one of the most challenging teachings in the New Testament. He says this is not optional; it is a sacred obligation—and a precious privilege—of all who take up the yoke of Christ. He says, “we are his ambassadors, commissioned by him.  We have been given his name to use with his full authority. Therefore, the content and the character of our praying must be, of necessity, in unity with his nature.”            

So, maybe our first steps are to continue to listen with expectation and intent. As Jesus set an example for us—to go  to His Father first—and then into action. Trust.

Lord, we thank you for your ongoing grace and compassion and forgiveness. Please keep us attuned to your prayers and your plans, that we will walk in complete trust and faithfulness to your call.


Psalm of Worship: 1 John 5:14-15

“And this is the boldness we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us. And if we know that he hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have obtained the requests made of him.”



Reflection Questions


1.     Are you ready to ask God anything? Why or why not?

2.     Are you ready to accept His answer? Why or why not?

3.     What are some ways that we can grow into boldness with humility and obedience?

4.     How can we let condemnation go towards ourselves, and others?

5.     Are we ready to be convinced that nothing is able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord?


Share: What word has the Lord given you from this overall study that you can step into boldness in your relationship with Him?


Thank you for sharing in our journey to Listen together.








Friday, June 1, 2018

Whole: Listen: Prayers and Poetry



                       Whole


                        Nothing can separate

                        in all creation with

                        Christ Himself in the midst

                        speaking His words

                        mending our divisive hearts and

                        contending spirits as

                        we each stretch

                        towards His presence

                        catch each other

                        in His light

                        all that is void

                        becomes filled.


                        His purpose.

                        His love.

                        Makes all things whole.


 
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