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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

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



Reflection Questions

1. In what ways have past failures stopped you from taking on a new possibility?

2. How have you turned to prayer to seek His guidance and counsel when fears once again attack?

3. What word of promise enables you to resist and trust?

4. What decision are you struggling with today?


Monday, October 29, 2018

Doubts: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry


Jeremiah 31: 22, “’How long will you go here and there, O faithless daughter? For the Lord has created a new thing in the earth—A woman will encompass a man.’”

A new thing,

Forgive us, Lord, that we still allow doubts and fears to infect our choices and decisions, or perhaps indecisions is the more realistic word.

You have created all things new and nothing is beyond your hands.

And yet we still falter.

Maybe because we know You have given us free choice and we are afraid to fail again. To go the wrong path again.

Can our choice be that You will override any wrong plans we make and keep us on Your highway no matter how much we try to resist—whether actively by actions or simply in our hearts?

We don’t want to go randomly here and there. We want to be in the place You choose for us and live by Your Spirit’s guidance.

Lord, please forgive us our unfaithfulness to You, especially as we see daily Your protecting grace. Please remove the fear that keeps us from a whole heart of trust and faith. Please give us Your strength to step into our new life with hope and commitment.

Your thoughts,


Friday, October 26, 2018

Highway: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry



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                                               Highway


                                                Many roads

                                                many highways

                                                some of scenic beauty

                                                some filled with danger

                                                hardship and loneliness

                                                heard of one

                                                called by some Holy

                                                God’s invitation.


                                                No traveler, it is said,

                                                not even a fool,

                                                shall go astray

                                                should they falter.


                                                Highway protected

                                                His hand sustains

                                                regardless of distance will

                                                reach destination safely.


Romans 8:21, “that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.”

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

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



Reflection Questions

1. Have you ever taken a wrong turn and ended up confused or lost?

2. What decisions and choices did you need to make to get back on track?

3. What kind of roadmarks and guideposts will help you to stay on God’s highway without false distractions?

4. What is the next turning point before you?



Monday, October 22, 2018

Return: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry


Jeremiah 31: 21, “Set up for yourselves roadmarks, Place for yourself guideposts; Direct your mind to the highway, The way by which you went. Return, O virgin of Israel, Return to these your cities.”

Return,

Roads go in both directions. There is always a way back—a way to return.

The landscape may have changed. The trip may now be more difficult, yet there are still markers to guide us. Turning points that give concrete arrows to destination. An internal map is also added as hope.

And each time we pause to rest we gain a new perspective. Some of our past completely forgotten, some just as remembered, but now we can see through a different lens. His roadmarks—His destination—His eternal promise—forgiveness.

“A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not travel on it, but it shall be for God’s people; no traveler, not even fools shall go astray.” Isaiah 35:8

A road that leads to ongoing life even if the road is a path of boulders.

Lord, please show us the roadmarks we are to walk. Give us Your vision we pray to see through our dimness and confusion. You have gifted us with extended life, Lord. Please show us how to live into it without further waste.

Your thoughts,


Friday, October 19, 2018

Still Remember: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry



                                    Still Remember


                                    Those we love

                                    are never gone
                                   
                                    whether life or death

                                    or distance has

                                    separated.


                                    The yearning endless,

                                    a joy overflows

                                    whenever reunion

                                    or connections are made

                                    sustaining our hearts.


                                    So the Lord

                                    still remembers

                                    searches for each missing

                                    soul wrapping us up with His

                                    sacrificial mercy.


Romans 8:20, “For the creation was subjected to futility, not of its own will, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

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



Reflection Questions


1. Have you ever felt forgotten or abandoned?

2. Have you ever felt you abandoned someone?

3. What brought about reconciliation or could bring about reconciliation?

4. How has the Lord brought His mercy to reconnect with you?


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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