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Monday, October 15, 2018

Yearns: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry


Jeremiah 31:20, “’Is Ephraim My dear son? Is he a delightful child? Indeed as often as I have spoken against him, I certainly still remember him; Therefore My heart yearns for him; I will surely have mercy on him,’ declares the Lord.”

Still remember.

The Lord does not forget us or abandon us but holds onto each of us in His heart waiting for the moments to open windows of restoration. Waiting for us to see His mercy instead of holding onto our hurt and grudges and resentment.

Like we often do in our personal relationships where we feel betrayed or judged or belittled by someone close to us. And the relationship crumbles even though we yearn too for mending.

Sometimes a separation may be a beginning towards mercy. Even when it feels like abandonment or a canyon that can never be crossed. It may become a respite that allows us some distance to process through a different perspective or a new way to relate instead of allowing the past habits to erode love.

We begin to see through His eyes, that each of us is a child beloved. Held in His ongoing prayers. We remember again with hope.

Lord, please protect our hearts from hardening against You and those whom You gift to us in our lives. Help us to walk together in faith and promise and trust.


Your thoughts,

Friday, October 12, 2018

Was Ashamed: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry



                                   Was Ashamed


                                    And after

                                    then saw clearly

                                    the failures

                                    and the fears

                                    that kept chains

                                    tangled each day

                                    and tightening lies

                                    truth buried under pride

                                    thinking sin acceptable

                                    and ignored

                                    then repentance

                                    tore open false life

                                    and revealed forgiveness.


Romans 8:19, For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.”

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Reflection: And After: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry


Reflection Questions


1. How often do we bury our faults and errors because we are too proud or ashamed to acknowledge them? Even the minor ones?

2. From whom are we hiding them? Ourselves or others or both?

3. What is the difference?

4. What kind of penalties do we expect in our relationships?

5. In what ways does our hidden shames constrict our openness to others?


Monday, October 8, 2018

And After: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry


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Jeremiah 31:19, “For after I turned back, I repented; And after I was instructed, I smote on my thigh; I was ashamed, and also humiliated, Because I bore the reproach of my youth.”

And after.

How often do we allow our lack of trust in ourselves to interfere with our trust in others or in the Lord? Our own reproach often stains not only our past but our present and our future as well. Like a bird of prey watching intently for the moment of attack.

So we work to keep all our errors hiding in the dark, from the least to the unforgiveable, hoping they will all go away or dissolve or be forgotten. And the shame becomes stronger and deeper.

Yet, in the Lord’s hands, in His light, the failures and reproach can be turned into life. Although we know not to trust ourselves, we can trust His promises. Instead of keeping our humiliation as barriers to reconciliation and restoration with others, with ourselves, and with the Lord, can become our new reality. Shame no longer has control.

Lord, please open our hearts to identify and acknowledge our excuses that we may face our fears and repent our failures with honesty.

Your thoughts,




Friday, October 5, 2018

Restoration: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry



                                   Restoration


                                    May be restored

                                    by His mercy

                                    does not leave us

                                    in our mistakes

                                    whether chosen or

                                    accidental

                                    but renews our

                                    wholeness through

                                    chastisement and love

                                    bringing forgiveness

                                    new beginnings

                                    mended life.


Romans 8:18, “For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us.”

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

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



Reflection Questions


1.     Have you had someone deny you forgiveness?

2.     Have you denied yourself the possibility of forgiveness?

3.     In what ways does that make you wonder about God’s gift of restoration?

4.     What part of you needs to trust in order to accept: mind, heart, or will?

5.     What defines restoration for you personally?


Monday, October 1, 2018

Restored: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry


Jeremiah 31: 18, “I have surely heard Ephraim grieving, Thou hast chastised me, and I was chastised, like an untrained calf; Bring me back that I may be restored, For Thou art the Lord my God.”

May be restored.

Sometimes our grief can so envelop us that we cannot see clearly or discern the difference between chastisement or condemnation, both towards ourselves and towards others. So the separation and the isolation build brick walls around our hearts.

May be restored.

Scripture says chastise. A door open to forgiveness and restoration and renewal. In God’s hands there is no sin that cannot be forgiven. No sin that cannot be survived. In His hands and in His care and in His mending ways.

May be restored.

Step by step sometimes in agonizing slowness. And yet the grief can be unveiled and with each layer His presence brings clearer sight. Clearer vision to begin again.

May be restored.

Soak this promise into each one of us, Lord, so that we will always bring our tears and sins, and denials, into Your hands remembering that You stand by us in truth, love, mercy, and forgiveness.

Your thoughts,

 
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