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Monday, August 29, 2011

Kingdom Manna


Mark 4:28, “The earth produces of itself, first the stalk, then the head, then the full grain in the head.”

In our push button modern technology we expect instant responses. Information requested a century ago by post could take several weeks to receive a reply. Today we are irritated if our e-mail question is not answered within the hour. Or we are frustrated from performing our duties by the constant demand for prompt answers. We can reach the uttermost corners of the world with our resources, but have lost the capacity to wait.

Creation continues to travel at the pace for which God programmed it. Fish and fowl follow tides and seasons. Crops grow in deliberate stages. For all, either delay or haste can cause destruction. The earth moves within its appointed time.

Intricately imbued with a signal towards life nature awaits God’s schedule. “So shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.”

Calm me Lord when Your answers are delayed. Create in me a quiet peace that recognizes Your timing is targeted to Your purposes.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 69:13

But as for me, my prayer is to you, O Lord. At an acceptable time, O God, in the

abundance of your steadfast love, answer me. With your faithful help

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Kingdom Manna


Mark 4:26, He also said, “The kingdom of God is as if someone would scatter seed on the ground.”

Random surveys seem almost purposeless, a waste of time. There is no method, no ground rules, and no intent. Or so it appears. But the actual focus behind a random outreach is to scatter the questions or information to everyone and anyone who will participate.

Who will listen? Who will respond? Who will act?

Recklessly scattering seeds on the ground seems a careless way to plant. There is no soil preparation, no removal of obstacles, no assurance of produce. But they may take root in unobserved corners and unlikely hollows. Bare patches turn luxuriant. Barren holes spring forth plenty.

With consistent regularity God scatters His words into our lives. Outrageous promises delivered to random recipients. He blankets the earth. He enfolds the world. He targets everyone with equal concern. And waits for us to answer. To accept. To bear new life.

Rain Your words deep within my empty holes and dried up feelings, Lord, that I may in turn scatter Your grain with exorbitant waste.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 147:15

He sends out his command to the earth; his word runs swiftly.

Monday, August 22, 2011

KIngdom Manna


Luke 8:1, “Soon afterwards he went on through cities and villages, proclaiming and bringing the good news of the kingdom of God.”

Solomon’s kingdom teemed with splendor. Riches from around the world. Wisdom envied. Robes draped in glory around the king’s shoulders. An epic age in Israel’s history. A signpost to the surrounding nations.

Sanctuary to which we are welcomed.

Heralds throughout the centuries proclaiming the good news.

God’s gates are open.

We can enter His courtyards.

But how will others know unless we share. And how will others come unless we pray. Oh Lord, forgive my silences. Sometimes I hug Your gift so tightly I forget to pass it along. Remind me to bring Your words into all the areas of my life that Your kingdom be seen and spoken and sketched in Your glory. By Your invitation. By Jesus’ proclamation.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 145:12

to make known to all people your mighty deeds and the glorious splendor of Your kingdom.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Kingdom Manna


Luke 4:43, But he said to them, “I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other cities also; for I was sent for this purpose.”

Sent for a purpose. Sent to accomplish a task. Sent to fulfill a covenant.

Message delivered in person. “The words that I say to you I do not speak on my own; but the Father who dwells in me does his works.” Personally delivered in mercy. Committed wholly to His father’s mission. Jesus’ focus remained centered in God’s will.

Steeped in prophecy. Steeped in history. Steeped in prayer.

My mouth moves often but not necessarily with Your words, Lord. I react, respond, and reciprocate to actions with my own motives instead of yours. Or I get so sidetracked with details and time and lists and performance that I speak hollow words, surface clich├ęs instead of sharing Your truths, Your good news.

Soak me so deep in Your scripture, Your covenant, that nothing but Your purpose will be spoken. Make me a committed messenger willing to speak whenever You send.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 111:9

He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever. Holy and awesome is his name.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Kingdom Manna


Matthew 21:43, “Therefore I tell you, the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.”

A harvest is expected, hoped for. To a vine grower no fruit means hardship; there are bills to pay, taxes due, workers to compensate, a household to feed. But a successful harvest results in plenty. Provision for all and extra to share.

God planted Israel as His vine. He dug, seeded, watered, shaded, and nurtured His people. A covenant gift. They produced wild grapes. “I am the true vine,” Jesus says. “Abide in Me and you will bear much fruit.” But if not fruitful, the branches are pruned.

A harvest is eagerly awaited. To God a fruitless vine means suffering children. They sit in darkness, despair, and hopelessness, fed falsehoods, deprived of His true word. But a kingdom harvest results in salvation. Abundance for all and life to share.

Gift of love to permeate all our days. We are never separated from His love. His resources are never depleted. Forgive me for being so meager with Your words, Your message, Your manna, Lord. Through them You give me life new each morning. Hope restored. Help me to share Your fruit. To abide in Your true vine.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 119:93

I will never forget your precepts,

for by them you have given me life.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kingdom Manna


Mark 12:34, When Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that no one dared to ask him any question.

Wisdom. The world honors wisdom and within each culture, poor or rich, a standard is marked which denotes who is considered wise. Some are honored for knowledge-academic, ground-breaking, accumulation. Some for insight—insight, discernment, soothsaying. For yet others it is business sense and economic opportunities.

“Do not deceive yourselves. If you think that you are wise in this age you should become fools so that you may become wise.”

When Jesus heard the scribe’s response, He commended him for setting love of God and neighbor above offerings and sacrifices. Seeking after a heart relationship before a successful reputation. And the wise Sadducees and Pharisees, paragons of religious knowledge and correct worship, became silent.

Decade by decade mankind’s knowledge grows sometimes at dizzying speeds. How often do we confuse it with wisdom? How often do I blur the differences? Your wisdom never changes Lord, because You never change. Your love endures forever to every age. Your love is the foundation of Your kingdom. Direct me to Your counsel. May I be willing to become foolish in my own generation to become wise in You.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 107:43

Let those who are wise give heed to these things,

and consider the steadfast love of the Lord.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Kingdom Manna


Mark 4:11, And he said to them, “To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables;”

Secrets. Whispered murmurings. Hidden knowledge. Confidences. Entrusted to family, close friends, familiar associates.

Waiting for the right time or right motives to be shared. Kept in silence that a surprise not be accidentally spilt. Kept in the open with all aware except the uninitiated.

Seekers ask questions, probe clues, and work the information like pieces in a puzzle. Joyous when formed into a whole. Doubts evaporate. Confusion makes sense. Satisfied accomplishment for a mystery revealed.

When You chose to share Your secrets Lord, You planted Your words for all mankind. Earth and sky and sea proclaim You. Truth and love and justice describe You. Jesus mirrors You.

Stories share You. From ancient days to future possibilities. Available. Speak Your words within me too, I pray, that I may hear Your truths with Your language. May I be committed to search and to whisper prayers. To understand Your parables. To listen to Your voice.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 78:2

I will open my mouth in a parable;

I will utter dark sayings from of old,

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Kingdom Manna


Matthew 13:47, “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net that was thrown into the sea and caught fish of every kind;”

Every year on our annual camping trip we watch to see how quickly one friend will slip away from the set-up to check out the ‘branch’, his favorite fishing hole. He has other spots and tries out new ones but here is familiar territory-trusted waters-known fish. His lures are prepared; bait fresh, nets close at hand.

Purpose. A deliberate plan. Well executed but not always fulfilled. Some years yield bounty, some scarcity. Imagine his shock though if, during one excursion, not only did he capture familiar trout but halibut and snapper and bass and salmon and tuna and over a hundred other varieties-every kind of fish.

Early in His ministry Jesus told two fishermen, “Follow me, and I will make you fish for people.” In every tribe, in every language, in every nation, in every family comes the invitation to enter God’s kingdom.

Planned mosaic. Nets filled with beauty, diversity, familiarity, mystery. Do I even look to see Your kingdom in other places Lord? Or am I so attached to my favorite spots I fail to recognize Your purposes spread out like a net drawing me to You, calling me to fish Your waters. Kingdom children of every kind.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 57:2

I cry to God Most High,

to God who fulfills His purpose for me.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Kingdom Manna


Luke 16:16, “The law and the prophets were in effect until John came; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is proclaimed, and everyone tries to enter it by force.”

Forced entry. Fists pounding door. Feet crashing windows. Angry voices alternately demanding, arguing, shouting.

At the door of the kingdom of God? Afraid of being left behind, afraid of being late. Afraid of clanging portals barred and locked. But if we recognize ourselves as unworthy, how do we think compulsion will gain our entrance?

Far too many times I come to You Lord in prayer with a list of demands. Oh I say please and pretend within myself I will accept Your answer. But my heart is set on my own wants. And I hide my selfish motives behind bluster and bravado.

“Anyone who resolves to do the will of God will know whether the teaching is from God or whether I am speaking on my own.” Jesus sought only Your will, not His own. So instead of coercion He asked, gently-in faith-in trust-in obedience.

Free me Lord, from my fear-filled pleas. May I come with a humble heart, asking-seeking-knocking.

Psalm of Worship: Psalm 100:4

Enter his gates with thanksgiving, and his courts with praise.

Give thanks to him, bless his house.

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