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Friday, March 29, 2019

Design: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry



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Design

Advertisements challenge
which is real, which is image.

Advanced technology mimics
world. Grows environments,
    multiple designs changing
    by delete, undo,
    begin again.

Almost taste cornucopia
whetting appetites.

Allow sensory immersion’s
woven spell. Given wide range
    choice, time induced
    entertainment almost
    reality.

Accepted credentials
with admiration for competence.

Admire each new invention
with respect for creativity.

Why then deny original
designer who spoke
universe into being.

Words became substance
    visible—flesh and blood,
    but requires faith to access
    and no control.

Psalm 104:4, He makes the winds His messengers, Flaming fires His ministers.”

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Reflection Questions: Word: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry


Reflection Questions

1. Why did we recognize the ‘realities’ that technology can produce yet struggle to recognize God’s realities in our lives?

2. Since often we do realize that human creations can be undone, do we apply that concept to faith and allow doubt to wonder at God’s promises of new beginnings?

3. How can we compare our ability to be creative with God’s spoken creation?

4. How should we not?


Share: From invisible to visible. What words of hope has God spoken into reality for you?



Monday, March 25, 2019

Word: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry




Hebrews 11:3, “By faith we understand that the worlds were prepared by the word of God, so that what is seen was made from things that are not visible.”

Word

Painters use canvas and colors. Writers use syllables and sentences. Potters shape clay and musicians a symphony. All begin with available materials, then imagine and dream and create things that are new, things that can be touched—tasted—seen—sung, all visible.

God spoke the universe into being: atoms and molecules, oxygen and carbon dioxide, veins and muscles, fish and fowl—humans. Scientists investigate, categorize every substance they can detect or discover. We learn what it is now but not always from where it came.

Planted within us scripture words take a new life under the Spirit’s leading. Stone hearts pulse with love. Stagnant minds grow in contemplation. Weak knees begin to pray. A cycle grows. As nature’s laws wheel the seasons around God’s standards, so prayer words reach heaven’s altar to receive cleansing and return in power.

God speaks new life into our emptiness. Shapes our chaos into beauty. Showers our wounds with balm. Our barren deserts become gardens, a welcome respite for fellow travelers. Not a mirage. An oasis made out of things not visible.

Your thoughts,



Friday, March 22, 2019

Magnet: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry



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Magnet

To each a different
goal perhaps
not necessarily
understood either by
intellect or vocabulary.

Concepts beyond vision
pulled by invisible ray.

Heart’s magnet setting
recalibrating after
sabotage or error,
negligence, dismay,
glimpses of approval.

Longing enough
to sustain journey.

Psalm 104:3, “He lays the beams of His upper chambers in the waters; He makes the clouds His chariot; He walks upon the wings of the wind;”

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Reflection Questions: Foundations: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry



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Reflection Questions


1. Whose everyday approval do we seek?

2. What attitudes and actions do we pursue that daily conflict with our faith?

3. God’s expectations seem beyond reach and yet He knows our very frame. How can that keep us from sabotage?


Share: How might we see daily life through His love instead of our failures?




Monday, March 18, 2019

Foundations: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry


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Hebrew 11: 2, “Indeed, by faith our ancestors received approval.”

Foundations

Looking beyond the impossible struggle, our geographic ancestors built countries. Planning for future generations they acted upon hope, upon faith, upon promises. They placed their trust on knowledge of land and crops and water to carve out valleys, lattice mountains, plant farms, and build cities.

Leaning on God’s promises our spiritual ancestors built a heritage of faith. Day by day sharing moral concepts. Week-by-week worshipping God. Month-by-month proclaiming scriptures. Year-by-year kneeling in atonement for their sin. Accepting God’s forgiveness.

Looking forward to a time beyond span when prophecy would reach completion. Not dependent on rulers, wealth, or power, but on God Himself: Creator, Lord. Relying on His resurrection words.

Leaning on You alone, Lord, is the only way to find Your path through this maze of life. Build in us, we pray, Your foundations to withstand the storms and droughts and earthquakes.

Your thoughts,

Friday, March 15, 2019

Unseen: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry


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Unseen


Behind the oxygen: air

Below the tree: seed

Beneath the earth: nutrients

Life given each new day
sustained by invisible
love
every moment replenished
with forward motion
living
tied together past,
present, future—eternity.

Behind the visible: light

Below the task: energy

Beneath the sorrow: dawn

Breath sustained hope.


Psalm 104: 1-2, “Bless the Lord, O my soul! O Lord my God, Thou are very great; Thou art clothed with splendor and majesty, Covering Thyself with light as with a cloak, Stretching out heaven like a tent curtain.”

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Reflection Questions: Assurance: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry



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Reflection Questions


1. What is the difference between a man-made conviction of assurance and a God-centered one?

2. How can circumstances make us the most vulnerable to doubts?

3. When should we hesitate if we’re not sure we hear God’s voice?


Share: What word from the Lord has made it possible for you to take a greater step of faith without sight?


Monday, March 11, 2019

Assurance: By Faith: Prayers and Poetry


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Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
  
Assurance

Sometimes we tend to look for assurance in the wrong places. Or, maybe for the wrong reasons.  Assurance that we will be rewarded, loved, valued, because of things we do. And when the people we most care about disappoint us by not responding our attitude and hope decrease.

Except no one but You, Lord, can fill up the void within us. You alone are our assurance.

However when we do not see You, or hear You, we tend to misunderstand and let doubt creep in.

Yet we are convinced of so many things we cannot see: oxygen and air, light behind dark clouds and invisible nutrients in our food. Nature explodes with things not seen: microbes, neutrons, quarks and currents. Even when we can’t describe them, or understand them, or even pronounce them sometimes, we have no doubts or questions re their existence—their ongoing presence.

Your invisible realm. Invisible to the human eye geographically, yet wider and deeper and more potent than any earthly rule.

So why do we doubt the paths You set before us, or the value of the journey for its own sake? Or the voice of Your Holy Spirit in soft whispers?

Open our eyes, we pray Lord, to live in Your unseen reality and to fully become a kingdom citizen. Help us to walk in Your light in this shadow world.

Your thoughts,


Sunday, March 10, 2019

By Faith: Prayers and Poetry


Introduction Hebrews 11

In this season of Lent we take time to remember the love, faith, and sacrifice of Jesus as He fulfilled God’s promise of redemption. In Hebrews Chapter 11 we see a list of faithful believers in God’s word who, from the Old Testament onward, lived into the often invisible realm of faith. Some have several chapters written of their commitment to live by God’s word, and some are nameless. What does a life of faith look like? How do we live in its hope? What is God’s definition of hope and faith?

We often look for assurance every day of our lives, assurance that we are wanted, loved, appreciated. We desire a confirmation of our value, our work, and ourselves. Yet we are looking for assurance that can be seen. We hope—yes—but for a concrete response.

Faith calls us deeper. To conviction. To trust. To care with, or without, a smile in return. To labor without encouragement. To act in conviction of our beliefs and our hearts. To act the same in whether in solitude or company, in joy or despair. To act with expectation that the Holy Spirit will interact within and through us.

Sometimes it seems our faith is strong. Sometimes we only have faint glimpses of light. It takes time to take a firm root in us and we usually want to see results quicker, when we really need to go slower.

So this forty week study unfolds as seeds to consider as we revisit the experiences of those listed as living by faith in Hebrews. Mondays we will reflect on a scripture passage. Wednesdays consider meditative questions. Fridays respond with poetry.

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




Friday, March 8, 2019

Forever: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry

                                                
                                               Forever


                                                Whole valley,

All that has gone before.

Ashes now.

Protected by His mantle.

Permanent grace.

Never more plundered.

No more battle ground.

Wholeness only future.


Psalm 127:1 “Unless the Lord builds the house,
                        They labor in vain who build it;
                        Unless the Lord guards the city,
                        The watchman stays awake in vain.
                        It is vain for you to rise up early,
                        To retire late,
                        To eat the bread of painful labors;
                        For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.


Thank you for participating in this devotional reflection through Jeremiah 31. May this next season of Lent bring you grace and joy as you continue to journey with scripture.
                       


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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

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


Reflection Questions


1.     “For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.” Psalm 127:1 Why do we, do you, find this promise difficult to absorb?

2.     What changes in words or action would help you to live into hope this week, this year?

3.     Where do you want to build a new beginning?
           
4.     Write out a description of what that might look like. Then offer it up as a prayer over the next several days with a listening heart.

5.     Write down what God shows you as wholeness over the next several days.
                       




Monday, March 4, 2019

Wholeness: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry




Jeremiah 31: 40 “And the whole valley of the dead bodies and of the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be holy to the Lord; it shall not be plucked up, or overthrown anymore forever.”

Whole valley,

Can we leave the past, with complete trust in the Lord’s protection, so as to move forwards from our wilderness into new beginnings?

Are we ready and willing to entrust Him with all the pain and the loss and give it into His shelter?

Otherwise we too can become trapped in the wilderness unable to heal—unable to follow His light.

Yet the Lord continues to give us His grace to keep us remembering the hope He provides. And as He has carried us through loss, He will continue to carry us through new beginnings.

Lord, may we build only where You lead us to, and only by Your Spirit’s insight and timing. May Your will be done in all our days in the whole valley of our time.


Your thoughts,


Friday, March 1, 2019

Purpose: Grace in the Wilderness: Prayers and Poetry

                                               Purpose

                                               
                                                Measuring line

                                                will go out further

                                                than we expect

                                                will climb a hill

                                                then take another turn

                                                moving straight ahead

                                                with directions

                                                to follow

                                                worn path

                                                treading through all obstacles

                                                moving with purpose.

Romans 8:39, “Nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


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